Panthers off to best start in at least 40 years
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Plymouth State University jumped out to a 16-2 lead over the game's first eight minutes and never looked back, cruising past Lyndon State College 76-53 in a non-conference men's basketball game Tuesday night. The Panthers now stand at a perfect 7-0 matching the best program start in at least the last 40 years.
Plymouth State got key contributions from a number of players. Sophomore Brian Boulay (Keene, N.H.) led a quintet of Panthers in double figures, scoring a team-high 13 points. Junior Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) had his second straight double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) was solid off the bench with 12 points and three rebounds in 13 minutes. Senior Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points and four boards and junior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) added 10 points and five rebounds. Junior Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) put in another balanced effort adding five points, four assists and two rebounds.
Lyndon State (2-2) was led by freshman guard Ty Roane (North Bend, Ore.), who came off the bench to score a team-high 13 points, including 3-of-5 from long range. Classmate Gabriel Torres (Woodland, Calif.) added nine points off the bench and was 2-of-4 from deep. Junior Xavier Colbert (Manassas, Va.) contributed six points and three rebounds, while classmates John Hamilton (Alameda, Calif.) and Jose Berroa (Lawrence, Mass.) combined for 11 points and 13 rebounds off the bench.
The Panthers took control early, scoring the game's first eight points, including a Boulay three-pointer from the right wing. Colbert momentarily stopped the bleeding for Lyndon State after connecting from inside, but PSU responded with another 8-0 run to seize control of the game.
Nwokeji pulled down an offensive rebound and scored on the put-back to push the Panther lead to 20 points, 31-11, with just over five minutes left in the opening half. Lyndon State responded with a 14-7 spurt behind six points from Torres and another four from Colbert to whittle the lead down to 13, 38-25, but that was as close as the Hornets would get. Osgood drilled a long-ball with just under a minute left in the opening frame to give PSU a 41-25 halftime lead.
A 14-0 Panther run inflated the lead to 30 points, 55-25, after the first five minutes of the second half. The inside-outside threat of Preston and Boulay combined for 10 of the 14 points. Senior Zach Stevens (Londonderry, N.H.) brought the crowd to its feet as he drained back-to-back three-pointers to make it a 65-36 game midway through the second half. The Hornets responded with a 12-0 run, capped by a three from Roane with 5:03 left to play, but Plymouth scored nine of the final 14 points to wrap up the win.
For the second straight home game, Plymouth shot exactly 50% from the floor (28-of-56). The Panthers out-rebounded Lyndon State by a 40-35 margin, and has now held the edge on the glass in every game this season. The Panther defense limited the Hornets to 35.6% shooting (21-of-59), forced 16 LSC turnovers and owned a 23-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
Plymouth State is back in action on Saturday afternoon (3:00 p.m.) when the Panthers host Rhode Island College in a key Little East Conference (LEC) game. Rhode Island ended PSU's season last year, squeaking out a 66-62 win in the opening round of the LEC Tournament. Lyndon State will host Colby-Sawyer College on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) in its first North Atlantic Conference (NAC) game of the year.
-- 30 --