Arsenault top scorer; Burt, Elliott-Baltimore honored on Senior Day
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Rhode Island College relied on a stifling defense to upend Plymouth State University, 69-41, in Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium.
The two teams will meet again next week in the LEC Tournament. Seventh-seeded Plymouth State (7-18, 2-12 LEC) will travel to second-seeded Rhode Island College (18-7, 10-4 LEC) for the opening round on Tuesday evening (time TBA).
Senior Chris Burton (New Rochelle, N.Y.) led all scorers with 17 points (on 6-12 shooting) and added eight rebounds, three blocks and three steals for RIC. Classmate Eric Alleyne (Watertown, Mass.) and freshman Roosevelt Shider (Meriden, Conn.) each added 14 points, with Alleyne also handing out three assists and coming up with five steals. Senior Victor Smith (Providence, R.I.), the fourth Rhode Island player in double figures, contributed ten points and five rebounds.
Plymouth State was led by sophomore Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.), who finished with 10 points, four rebounds and three steals. Junior Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) added eight points and five rebounds, with sophomore Ernie Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) also scoring eight points. Senior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) finished with seven points.
Trailing 6-2 after four minutes of play, Plymouth State used an 8-0 spurt to take the lead. A three-pointer by Burt started the run, followed by a driving layup and three-pointer from Arsenault. Another Arsenault long-ball pushed the PSU lead to 13-8 after seven minutes, but the Anchormen responded with a 9-0 run over the next four minutes to go up 17-13. Shider had five points during the run.
A pair of free throws by sophomore Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) cut the PSU deficit to 22-16 with 5:51 left in the opening half, but RIC closed the half on an 11-2 run for a 33-18 lead at intermission.
Sophomore Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) hit a layup off a nice feed from senior Michael Elliott-Baltimore (North Lauderdale, Fla.) to open the second half, before RIC scored six straight to go up 39-20 with 17:40 remaining. Johnson hit a deep three for PSU, but the Anchormen pushed the lead to 20.
Another Johnson triple, followed by a pair of layups from Nwokeji, cut the RIC lead to 51-34 with 8:05 left, but that was as close as the Panthers would get. Nwokeji hit from inside off a feed from Burt to bring PSU within 57-38 with 5:21 to play, but RIC scored the next 12 points to capture the win. Elliott-Baltimore closed the scoring with a straight-on three.
Burt, Elliott-Baltimore, and four-year manager Rodney Martinez, were all honored for their contributions to the PSU men's basketball program prior to the game.
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