Slow start dooms Panthers; Skevas leads way with 23
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Junior guard Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, RI) recorded 19 points to match his career-high on Saturday afternoon, leading the Rhode Island College men's basketball team to a 68-54 victory over Plymouth State University at The Murray Center the Little East Conference opener for both squads.
Rhode Island College (6-0) opened the game with an impressive defensive showing as Plymouth State (1-5) was held off the scoreboard for the first 8:51. The Panthers went 0-for-12 to open the game from the floor and were held without a field goal for the first 10:14 of action until junior guard Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.) knocked down a jumper. RIC took a 33-18 lead into the break and went on to close out PSU in the second half, despite being outscored, 36-35, through the final 20 minutes.
The Panthers eventually went on to shoot 40 percent (21-for-52) from the field thanks to a spirited second-half effort in which they cut the deficit to as a few as 12, despite trailing by as many as 23. Plymouth State held the edge on the glass, outrebounding the hosts, 33-24, and also shot 71 percent (10-for-14) from the free throw line. However, PSU shot just 20 percent (2-for-10) from outside and lost 17 turnovers on the offensive end.
Meanwhile, the Anchormen were efficient offensively as they shot 49 percent (23-for-47) from the field and turned the ball over just 14 times. RIC also shot 69 percent (18-for-26) from the charity stripe, but posted just a 27 percent shooting effort (4-for-15) from downtown.
Aside from another strong effort from Tom DeCiantis, the Anchormen were paced by freshman center Mike Neal (Pawtucket, RI), who finished with nine points and four rebounds.
Skevas led the Panthers with a game-high 23 points, while sophomore Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) added nine points, three rebounds and three steals. Junior Sheldon Benson (Pembroke, N.H.) posted six points and five rebounds, while senior Stephan Roberts (Kissimmee, Fla.) added five points, three steals and a game-high seven rebounds.
Both the Rhode Island College men's and women's basketball teams were playing for Prostate Cancer Awareness on Saturday at The Murray Center. A number of different activities took place throughout the games to promote awareness and raise funds to support prostate cancer research locally and in New Hampshire. Similar activities will take place when the Anchormen and Anchorwomen visit the Panthers later in the season.
In upcoming action, Rhode Island College will travel to Salve Regina on Tuesday while PSU returns home to host Tufts University on Tuesday in a non-conference affair.
(Courtesy of Rhode Island College Sports Information)
-- 30 --