Arsenault, Skevas are high scorers for Panthers
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Juniors Joe Groski (New Milford, Conn.) and Jengodji Gates (New Haven, Conn.) combined to score 35 points Saturday to lead Western Connecticut State University past Plymouth State University, 59-46, in Little East Conference men's basketball action at Foley Gym.
The Colonials, who used a late second-half surge to defeat PSU, improved to 8-3 overall and 2-1 in the LEC. Plymouth State falls to 7-6 and 1-2.
Groski just missed a double-double, registering team-highs in points (19) and rebounds (9). Gates finished with 16 points, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. Washington added nine points to aid in the winning cause.
Plymouth State was led by freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.), who scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Senior Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.) chipped in with 10 points and sophomore Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) had nine points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Senior Shomari Morgan (Manchester, N.H.) had a solid game with eight points on 4-of-8 shooting.
In a game which had 10 lead changes and five ties, WCSU got control of the contest midway through the second stanza after a pair of free throws by Jeremiah Washington (Bridgeport, Conn.) which gave the visitors a 40-36 advantage. The Colonials built a double digit lead, 54-43, following a Ronnie Underwood lay-up with just over four minutes to play and were never challenged down the stretch.
Plymouth State came out of the gate fast, using an Arsenault jumper to build an 8-2 lead at the start. Western Connecticut fought right back to take the lead with a 7-0 run, capped by a Groski power move inside. Neither team could gain more than a five-point advantage during a very defensive minded first half. PSU had a five point lead, 27-22, with four seconds left before the intermission but Gates drained a three-pointer as time expired, leaving the Panthers only up by two at the break.
The stingy Western Connecticut defense held the PSU to just 21-percent (7-34) from the floor in the decisive second half. The Panthers did not fare much better from behind the arc, hitting just 3 of 11 attempts from long range.
Western Connecticut returns to action on Tuesday with a LEC game at Keene State College. The Panthers are also on the road Tuesday when they travel to UMass Boston for a conference match-up with the Beacons.
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