PSU Men’s Basketball nips UMaine-Presque Isle

PSU Men’s Basketball nips UMaine-Presque Isle

Arsenault's buzzer-beater caps incredible comeback

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) drained a fall-away three-pointer from the left wing as time expired, giving Plymouth State University a dramatic 69-66 come-from-behind win over the University of Maine at Presque Isle in non-conference men's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

            Plymouth State, which trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half, wraps up the 2015 portion of the schedule with a 10-1 mark, already eclipsing last season's win total.  UMPI falls to 4-6.

            On the final play, sophomore Brian Boulay (Keene, N.H.) dribbled into the lane and nearly lost the ball, before flipping it out to Arsenault.  Arsenault hit the fade-away with an Owls' defender in his face, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.

            Sophomore Maurice Harris (Miami, Fla.) gave the Owls a 47-29 lead just 1:45 into the second half before Plymouth State mounted a furious comeback.  The Panthers used a 20-4 run over a ten minute span to cut the deficit to just two points, 51-49, midway through the second.  Boulay had five points in the run, including a triple from the right wing.

            Junior Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) found sophomore Kieran Beck (Danvers, Mass.) with a no-look pass to make it a 49-45 game with 11:01 remaining, then Clarke's layup made it 51-49 a minute later.

            UMPI senior Chase Vicaire (Mattawamkeag, Maine) nailed a three from the left wing to give the Owls a 60-54 lead with just over five minutes left, but PSU responded with 9-1 spurt to take a 63-61 lead, its first since 2-0.  Senior Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) came up with a key steal to set up an old-fashioned three-point play for Arsenault during the stretch.  Boulay tied the game, then gave the Panthers a 63-61 lead after nailing an off-balance jumper from the left elbow.

Arsenault's game-winning three-pointer.  

            Harris was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws to put the Owls back in front 64-63, but on the next possession Boulay drove inside and whipped the ball back to Arsenault, who calmly sank a three-pointer in front of the Panther bench to put PSU back on top 66-64 with 42 seconds to go. 

            UMPI junior Derek Healy (Hanover, Mass.) drove to the rim and tied the game at 66-66 with 23 left, setting up Arsenault's game-winning heroics.

            Arsenault finished with a game-high 20 points, including 5-of-8 from long-range, to go with eight rebounds.  Boulay added 16 points (7-of-12 shooting) and three assists.  Nwokeji just missed a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down nine rebounds.  Clarke had a game-high four assists.

            Vicaire led the Owls with 19 points, but did most of his damage in the first half.  He finished the opening half with 16 points while shooting 4-of-5 from downtown, before cooling off in the second.  Sophomore Kevin Collins (Oxen Hill, Md.) added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Harris chipped in with 12 points.

            It was a tale of two halves for the two offenses.  UMPI came out on fire, shooting 59% in the first half, including 78% (7-of-9) from long range, but were just 9-of-23 (39%) overall and 1-of-8 (13%) from deep in the second half.  The Panthers started slowly, shooting 10-of-28 (36%) in the opening frame, but turned it on in the second half when they went 16-of-33 (49%).  PSU finished the game at 43%, the first time they failed to shot 50% at home this season.  Plymouth State held a 33-22 advantage on the boards, including a 13-3 edge in offensive rebounds, which led to a 19-6 advantage in second chance points.

            Plymouth State will kick off 2016 with a non-conference home game against Newbury College on Tuesday, 1/5 (7:30 p.m.).  UMPI will be back on the court tomorrow, playing host to Thomas (Maine) College with tip-off slated for 3:00 p.m.


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