Nwokeji leads Panthers in LEC setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Jose Nouchanthavong (Westbrook, Maine) hit a game-winner jumper as the buzzer sounded to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 75-73 win over the Plymouth State University Panthers in a Little East Conference men's basketball game Wednesday night at Foley Gym. It is the second straight game that Nouchanthavong has won on the last play of the game.
The win is the third straight for the Huskies who improve to 11-7 overall and 5-3 in the Little East. USM has won its last two games by a combined three points. PSU suffers its fourth straight loss to drop to 12-7 overall and 3-5 in the LEC.
Despite leading the Panthers by 11, 66-55, with just over seven minutes to play in the game, Southern Maine found itself tied with PSU in the closing seconds of regulation. USM took its 11 point lead on a three-pointer from junior Atencio Martin (Kittery, Maine) with 7:01 to play only to have the Panthers rally with a 13-4 run over the next six minutes to make it a one possession game. Three players scored in the run for PSU led by seven points from junior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.), including a pair of free throws to make it 70-68 with 1:23 left in the game.
Nouchanthavong halted the Panther surge extending the USM lead to five, 73-68, with his fifth three-pointer of the game with just over a minute to lay, before Arsenault willed the Panthers even with the Huskies scoring five unanswered points. Arsenault made it a 73-70 game with 47 seconds to go collecting an offensive rebound and then scoring the put back. After a missed attempt from USM with 21 seconds to play, and a big defensive rebound from PSU senior Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.), the Panthers took a time out before Arsenault drained the game-tying three with 13 seconds to play.
With the game on the line, Nouchanthavong brought the ball up the court and went one-on-one with his defender getting him to bite on a fake before pulling up for an elbow jumper. The ball bounced twice on the rim before settling into the nylon for the win.
Nouchanthavong finished with a game and career-high 31 points on 11-for-20 shooting, including a 5-for-11 mark from three-point range. He added four rebounds and four assists. Martin added 19 points on 8-for-19 shooting and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Senior Cole Libby (Buxton, Maine) and junior Zach Leal (York, Maine) each scored eight points and had three assists.
Nwokeji led PSU with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Arsenault scored 17 points off of the bench. Junior Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) was 6-for-11 from the field for 12 points, adding six rebounds.
Southern Maine hosts Western Connecticut on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) in a Little East Conference gamePlymouth State hosts UMass Dartmouth on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) in the LEC.
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
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