Slow start hampers Panthers; Skevas leads team with 16 points
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Nationally-ranked Eastern Connecticut State University erupted for the first 19 points of the game Saturday afternoon, never relinquishing the lead en route to a 61-49 victory over Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference men's basketball contest at Foley Gymnasium.
The Warriors, ranked 22nd in the most recent D3hoops.com national poll, got a game-high 20 points from senior guard Brian Salzillo (North Haven, Conn.). Senior Mike Garrow (Terryville, Conn.) added 14 points as the Warriors improved to 8-3 overall and 2-0 in the Little East.
Senior Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.) led the home team with 16 points, shooting 50 percent (6-of-12) from the floor. Sophomore Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) was good for 10 points and seven rebounds but the Panthers slipped to 6-5 overall and 1-1 in conference play.
Eastern took control of the contest early and never looked back. The Warriors made nine of their first 11 attempts while PSU missed its first eight shots, leading to the 19-0 score after seven minutes of action. Salzillo scored nine points in the surge while Garrow added six points and junior Brandon Yarborough (Stamford, Conn.) chipped in with four. PSU broke the scoreless streak when junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) nailed a three-pointer with 12:54 on the clock.
Eastern kept the pressure on and took a 35-14 advantage into halftime. PSU shot just 20 percent in the first half (5-of-24) while the Warriors converted at a 47 percent clip (16-of-34).
Down by as many as 21 points early in the second half, PSU did not give up and staged a comeback attempt. The Panthers got the deficit under double digits (48-40) with 6:40 to play, and was again within eight points (51-43) with 4:21 to go, but Salzillo hit a three and Garrow added a hoop and PSU got no closer than 11 points down the stretch.
PSU will be back on the court this Tuesday with a non-conference home game against Johnson State College (7:30 p.m.) Eastern returns to action Tuesday with a non-conference affair at Amherst College (7:00 p.m.)
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