PSU Men’s Basketball falls to Salem State

Skevas and Benson provide Panther highlights

            SALEM, Mass. – Hannell Velez (Woburn, Mass.) scored 15 of his game-high 20 points in the second half Thursday night to lead Salem State University to an 87-57 win over Plymouth State University at the O'Keefe Center.

            The Vikings trailed by three at halftime, but outscored the Panthers 57-24 in the final 20 minutes to coast to a thirty-point win. SSU, playing its' first home game, improved to 3-3, while PSU fell to 1-4.

            The Vikings struggled in the first half and trailed by as many as seven. They were held to just 37 percent shooting from the field as the Panthers took a 33-30 lead, paced by 10 points from junior Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.), into the halftime locker room.

            The deficit was one when Salem State exploded on a 20-2 run that gave it a commanding 56-39 lead with 10:18 remaining. Velez, Nate Simpson (Lowell, Mass.), and Justin Nieves (Lawrence, Mass.) combined to score every point in the run, as SSU built an insurmountable lead. Nieves had a dunk and Velez buried a three-pointer to key a 16-0 run five minutes later, as the VIkings increased their lead to 30, 75-45, with 4:21 remaining. Salem State would go on to shoot 61 percent (23-of-38) from the field in the second half, while the Panthers managed just 26 percent (10-of-38).

            Velez was a perfect 8-8 from the floor and made all four of his three-point attempts to lead the way for SSU. Nieves had 15 points, while Simpson had a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

            Plymouth State was led by Skevas who had 14 points and Sheldon Benson (Pembroke, N.H.), who finished with 10.

            The Vikings remain at home to host Lesley on Saturday at 3 p.m. The Panthers visit Rhode Island College on Saturday for the Little East Conference opener. 

(Courtesy of Salem State Sports Information) 

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