Burt leads Panthers with game-high 21 points
DANBURY, Conn. – The Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team opened the second half with a 19-5 run Saturday afternoon, turning a six-point margin into a 20-point lead and the Colonials went on to a 68-60 win over Little East Conference rival Plymouth State University at Feldman Arena.
Senior Leroy Mayers (Bronx, N.Y.) led the Western offense with 16 points, while sophomore Joe Groski (New Milford, Conn.) turned in another double-double with a 10-point, 15-rebound performance. Freshman Phil Starks (Hartford, Conn.) added 10 points for the Colonials.
Sophomore Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) led all scorers with 21 points for Plymouth State, followed by junior Mark MacGregor (Rochester, N.H.) with 17 points. Freshman Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) led the Panthers on the boards with seven rebounds.
After Western opened the scoring in the game's first 10 seconds, Plymouth State answered with a 9-2 run to open up a 9-4 lead. The momentum shifted back to the visitors and Plymouth State went on a 13-5 run to take a 22-15 lead with eight minutes remaining in the half. The Western defense then shut out the Panthers for over five minutes as the Colonials took their largest lead of the half, 29-22.
Plymouth State managed back-to-back baskets to narrow the margin to three points, 29-26, with two minutes remaining, but two layups by Mayers and a free throw by MacGregor in the closing minute made the Western lead 33-27 at intermission.
The first nine minutes of the second half proved to be the difference in the game. A Starks three-pointer got things rolling for Western and the Colonial defense held Plymouth State scoreless for the first five minutes as Western scored 11 unanswered points for a 44-27 lead. Plymouth State stopped the run with a brief five-point run of its own, but then the Colonials went on an 8-0 run for a 20-point lead, 52-32, with 11 minutes remaining.
Plymouth State managed to cut the lead in half, but Western was able to maintain a double-digit lead until the game's closing seconds. Plymouth State closed the game with a 6-0 run in the final minute of play, making the final margin 68-60 for the Colonials.
Both teams play LEC in-state rivals on Tuesday as Western (4-10, 2-3) hosts Eastern Connecticut State University and PSU (3-11, 1-4) entertains Keene State College.
(Courtesy of Western Connecticut Sports Information)
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