Burt nets game-high 28 in Little East Conference opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Despite a season-high 28 points from senior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) the Plymouth State University men's basketball team fell to UMass Dartmouth, 78-75, in the Little East Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon.
The game, which saw four ties and seven lead changes in the second half, came down to the final seconds. Corsair junior Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) hit a jumper to give UMass Dartmouth a 71-70 lead with 1:20 left, but Burt connected on the ensuing Panther possession to retake the lead with 58 seconds remaining. With 40 seconds to go Rezendes buried a three-pointer to give the Corsairs a 74-72 edge.
Plymouth came up empty on three shots in its subsequent possession before Rezendes hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to four. Panther sophomore Logan Kesty (New Boston, N.H.) drilled a long three-pointer with five seconds left, cutting the deficit to one (72-71). Despite strong pressure by the Plymouth defense, the Corsairs were able to inbound the ball and sophomore Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) hit two clutch free throws with less than one second to play to close out the scoring. The Panthers were unable to get a shot off in the final possession.
Burt continued his hot shooting of late, connecting on 12-of-17 shots, including 4-of-8 from long range, while grabbing seven rebounds. Sophomore Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) added 17 points for PSU, while junior Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) ripped down a game-high eight rebounds to accompany his seven points.
Rezendes finished with 26 points for the Corsairs, while freshman Cody Borges (Dartmouth, Mass.) added 14. Senior Josh Castillo (Lynn, Mass.) and junior Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) added 11 and 10 points respectively.
Plymouth State led for the duration of the first half, closing out the final two minutes with a 6-0 run. A Nwokeji block in the final seconds led to a driving layup at the buzzer by sophomore Ernie Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) to give the Panthers a 39-31 halftime advantage. A Burt three-pointer gave Plymouth its biggest lead, 42-33, in the opening minute of the second half.
Plymouth State (3-4, 0-1 LEC) hosts Tufts University on Tuesday (12/9) in a non-conference game (7:00 p.m.). The Corsairs (5-4, 1-0 LEC) are off until December 30th when they travel to Miami, Fla. to face Marietta (Ga.) College in the Adidas Holiday Slam.
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