Freshmen guide Panthers to LEC win; Arsenault leads way with 14
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshmen Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H./Phillips Exeter), Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) and Logan Kesty (New Boston, N.H./Bishop Guertin) combined to score 36 points Tuesday evening as Plymouth State University held off the University of Southern Maine, 64-62, in Little East Conference men's basketball action at Foley Gym.
Arsenault led the Panthers with 14 points, converting 5-of-10 from the field and making all three of his shots from three-point range. Preston, making his first career start, scored a season-high 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and Kesty added 11 points off the bench, making three shots from beyond the three-point arc.
Sophomore Jacob Littlefield (Mechanic Falls, Maine) led all scorers with 15 points off the Husky bench, making 7-of-11 from the field. Senior Tyler Penney (Barnstead, N.H./Bishop Brady) added 10 points and seven boards, and senior Conor Sullivan (Scarborough, Maine), sophomore Sean Caddigan (Bethel, Maine) and freshman Fred Knight (Hampden, Maine) chipped in with eight points apiece. Sullivan pulled down a game-high nine rebounds, but USM slipped to 6-16 overall and 2-9 in the Little East.
USM had a 13-12 lead in the first half when the Panthers rattled off nine straight points, capped by a three-pointer by junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) PSU built the lead to nine points four times in the half but USM managed to keep the margin in single digits each time. The Huskies pulled to within three late in the half, and the teams went into the break with PSU holding a 40-35 advantage. Kesty led the way with 11 first-half points.
Plymouth State took its largest lead of the game, 52-42, five minutes into the second half, but USM would not go away. The Huskies got some big buckets from Littlefield and pulled back to within five points, 55-50, with 11:30 to play.
Preston hit a pair of free throws with four minutes to play to put PSU ahead 64-56, but that ended up as the final points of the game for the Panthers. Littlefield hit a jumper to make it a six-point game, and Knight converted a pair of free throws and a lay-up to pull the Huskies to within two points with 1:22 to play.
Both teams had opportunities down the stretch but could not put the game away. USM had one final chance in the closing seconds but a tying basket bounced off the rim.
PSU plays its Senior Day game on Saturday, hosting the University of Massachusetts Boston at 3:00 p.m. at Foley Gym. Southern Maine hosts Rhode Island College Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
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