Nwokeji and Skevas lead Panthers to fifth straight win
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) scored a career-high 20 points and senior Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.) added 13 points and a career-high 13 assists Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University defeated the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 71-61, in the Little East Conference men's basketball opener for both schools at Foley Gymnasium.
Plymouth State won its fifth game in a row, its longest winning streak since January of 2010. The Panthers improved to 6-1 overall (1-0 LEC), while UMD slipped to 4-3 overall (0-1 LEC). PSU is just one win shy of matching last year's win total when the Panthers finished 7-19 overall.
Nwokeji converted 9-of-13 shots from the field and grabbed six rebounds while Skevas made 5-of-7 shots and had just two turnovers against his 13 assists along with four steals. Junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) and freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H./Phillips Exeter) added 10 points apiece and senior Mark MacGregor (Rochester, N.H.) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
The Corsairs were led by freshman Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.), who finished with 20 points and seven rebounds on 8-of-16 shooting (3-of-7 from three-point range). Sophomore Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.), a high school teammate of PSU's Nwokeji, added 11 points and eight rebounds and freshman Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points.
PSU jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes and never looked back. The Panthers maintained a single-digit lead the next 10 minutes until a three-pointer from freshman Logan Kesty (New Boston, N.H.) with six minutes to play pushed the margin to 11 points, 30-19. Skevas followed with a bucket as PSU took its largest lead of the half, and went into the locker room with a 42-32 halftime advantage.
Bouchard and sophomore Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) scored the first four points of the second half for UMD, but that's as close as the Corsairs would come. Arsenault hit a two and Burt followed with a three to push the Panther lead back up to double digits (47-36). PSU pulled away as the second half went on, leading by as many as 18 points with three minutes to play.
PSU shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-60) while holding UMD to 36 percent from the field (24-of-66).
Both teams play non-conference games Tuesday as PSU travels to Tufts University, while UMD visits Roger Williams University.
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