Nwokeji posts double-double to lead Panthers past Spartans
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) scored a career-high 19 points and grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds Tuesday evening to lead Plymouth State University to an 83-80 victory over Castleton State College in non-conference men's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.
Plymouth State held the lead the entire second half, but the Panthers couldn't put the pesky Spartans away. It was a one-point game (81-80) in the final minute when junior Shomari Morgan (Manchester, N.H./Memorial) drained a jumper from the left side with 12 seconds remaining after his first shot was blocked. PSU held on as Castleton couldn't get a tying shot off in the closing seconds.
The Panthers won their third straight game to improve to 4-1 overall, while Castleton falls to 1-2.
Nwokeji, who converted 9-of-15 shots from the field, was one of four Panthers to score in double figures. Freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H./Phillips Exeter) scored 17 points and collected nine rebounds, while junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) added 14 points and Morgan chipped in with 10.
Sophomore Rob Coloutti (Fair Haven, Vt.) came off the Spartan bench to lead all scorers with 22 points, making 8-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-9 from three-point range. Junior Carnelius Green (Oviedo, Fla.) collected a double-double as well with 18 points and 14 rebounds, while senior Logan White (Hartford, Vt.) chipped in with 16 points.
Leading by seven at halftime (43-36), PSU got its first double-digit lead when Arsenault hit a three-pointer to open the second half. Castleton hung around, but PSU still led by 10 points (64-54) with 10:30 to play. An 11-2 run by the Spartans whittled the margin down to one point, but Nwokeji hit a pair of buckets and a free throw to push the lead back up to six points with six minutes to play.
The teams traded baskets the next four minutes, and Castleton pulled to within one possession (79-77) after a three-pointer by White with 1:32 remaining. Arsenault drained a pair of free throws to make it a four-point game, but another three by White got it down to one point, setting up Morgan's clutch hoop.
Plymouth State is back in action next Tuesday, Dec. 2, with a non-conference game at in-state rival Colby-Sawyer College (7:30 p.m.). Castleton plays a non-conference game next Tuesday at Middlebury.
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