Skevas, Nwokeji lead Panthers to LEC win over rival Owls
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.) scored a game-high 18 points and sophomore Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) posted his fourth double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds Tuesday evening as Plymouth State University knocked off rival Keene State College, 68-64, in a Little East Conference men's basketball game at Foley Gym.
PSU led by one point, 61-60, with a minute to play in the second half when Skevas hit a driving layup to the basket with the shot clock running down. After a Keene State miss at the other end, Nwokeji followed with a bucket after a strong baseline move, pushing PSU's lead up to five points, 65-60, with 23 seconds remaining.
After KSC's seven-foot forward Nate Howard (Cheshire, Conn.) and PSU freshman Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) traded a pair of free throws, PSU senior Shomari Morgan (Manchester, N.H.) made one of two free throws in the final 10 seconds. Howard closed out the scoring with an Owl bucket with two seconds to go as PSU held on for the win.
Skevas made 7-of-12 shots from the field while also collecting six assists and four steals, while Nwokeji converted 6-of-9 from the floor and grabbed five offensive rebounds. Freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) added 11 points off the Panther bench, and Morgan had a productive game with nine points and seven rebounds. PSU improved to 10-8 overall and 4-4 in the Little East.
Howard led the visitors with 17 points and seven rebounds, while freshman Jaquel Edwards (Manchester, Conn.) posted his second double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 boards, converting 6-of-10 from the field. Junior Tom Doyle (Wallingford, Conn.) chipped in with 10 points, but the Owls dropped to 6-11 overall and 3-5 in conference play.
PSU had to overcome a slow start as the home team missed their first 14 field goal attempts. PSU managed three free throws but trailed 14-3 with nine minutes remaining in the half. Arsenault finally connected for the Panthers with eight minutes on the clock.
Keene State led 18-9 with five minutes remaining, but PSU out-scored the Owls 13-2 over the final five minutes to take a 22-20 lead into the locker room. Nwokeji scored five points in the run while Skevas tallied four points and three assists. Keene managed just a pair of free throws from Howard.
The game remained tight throughout the second half. It was tied 30-30 with 14 minutes remaining before PSU pulled away to its largest lead of the second half, 41-34, after a jumper by Skevas with 9:50 to go. Keene State whittled the margin down and tied the score at 52-all with five minutes on the clock.
PSU never relinquished the lead, and baskets by Arsenault and junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) and a three from Skevas got the margin back up to six points (61-55) with 2:30 to play. Keene State pulled to within a point with just over a minute to go before Skevas and Nwokeji clinched it for the Panthers.
Both teams are back on the court Saturday with LEC contests as PSU visits Eastern Connecticut State University and KSC returns home to host the University of Southern Maine.
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