Arsenault leads Panthers; LEC playoffs start Tuesday at WCSU
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Senior guards Tom DeCiantis (North Kingstown, R.I.) and Michael Palumbo (Providence, R.I.) finished with 12 and 11 points, respectively, helping the Rhode Island College men's basketball team in a 70-59 victory over Plymouth State University Saturday afternoon in the Little East Conference regular season finale at The Murray Center.
RIC (17-8, 11-3 LEC) will be the No. 2 seed in the upcoming Little East Tournament and will host No. 7 Southern Maine in first round action at The Murray Center on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
Plymouth State had its three-game winning streak snapped and dropped to 13-12 overall and 7-7 in the LEC. PSU improved its regular season record from a year ago, when it finished 7-18 overall and 3-11 in the conference. The Panthers sealed the No. 5 seed in the upcoming LEC Tournament and will be on the road in the opening round Tuesday at fourth-seeded Western Connecticut State University.
PSU was led Saturday by freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.), who finished with a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and four steals. Sophomore Logan Kesty (New Boston, N.H.) netted 11 points for PSU, while junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) also added 11 points off the bench. Senior Mark MacGregor (Rochester, N.H.) finished with four points, five rebounds and three assists, while freshman Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) contributed six points, three boards and two assists.
PSU's leading scorer, senior guard Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.), was limited to just four points on 1-of-5 shooting, but did manage to pull down six rebounds to go along with four steals.
Rhode Island College opened the game on a 16-0 scoring run and held the Panthers scoreless until the 12:26 mark, when junior Shomari Morgan (Manchester, N.H.) got PSU on the scoreboard with a pair of free throws. Meanwhile, Plymouth State didn't record a field goal until the 10:59 mark, when Arsenault connected on a layup to make it, 20-4. Yet, despite trailing by 16, the Panthers rallied for a 17-4 run to close out the frame, keyed by seven points from Arsenault, en route to the 28-21 halftime deficit.
The visitors carried the momentum into the second half and opened the stanza on a 17-9 run to take their first lead of the game, 38-37, with 14:51 left to play. After the Anchormen managed to regain the lead a little over a minute later, PSU responded with back-to-back treys from Kesty and Burt to take a 44-41 lead over RIC with 12:10 on the clock. However, Cilley answered right back for the Anchormen with a three-pointer of his own at the 11:53 mark to tie the score, 44-44.
Moments later, freshman Anthony Williams (Waldorf, Md.) came off the bench to bury a tough layup in the paint, giving the hosts a two-point, 46-44, lead over the Panthers. That basket gave Rhode Island College the lead for good, as the hosts never relinquished the advantage for the remaining 11 minutes of action. Although Plymouth State cut the deficit to just two points on several occasions over the next few minutes, RIC outscored PSU, 24-15, en route to the 11-point victory.
(Courtesy of Rhode Island College Sports Information)
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