Preston powers Panthers past Cadets in home opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) scored a game-high 18 points on a sparkling 8-of-9 shooting to lead Plymouth State University past Norwich University, 67-62, in non-conference men's basketball action Thursday night at Foley Gymnasium. The 6' 6" senior finished one rebound shy of a double-double.
The Panthers owned a comfortable 36-24 lead at the half, and were up as many as 15 early in the second half before the Cadets mounted a comeback. Norwich cut the deficit to one, 48-47, midway through the second half, but couldn't get any closer. PSU, leading 57-55 with 1:24 to play, was a perfect eight-of-eight from the free throw line in the final minute to secure the win.
Foley Gymnasium, Plymouth, N.H. – Thurs., Nov. 17, 2016
Plymouth State 67, Norwich 62
Plymouth State 2-0; Norwich 1-1
* Preston … 18 points, nine rebounds
* Senior Ernie Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) … 10 points, 7-of-8 FT, four assists
* Senior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) … 10 points, 6-of-6 FT, four rebounds
* Sophomore Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) … 10 points (5-of-7), three rebounds, two blocks
* Senior Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) … seven assists, six steals
BY THE NUMBERS
* Plymouth State connected on 24-of-51 from the floor (47.1%), while the Cadets finished 20-of-43 (46.5%).
* PSU controlled the interior, outscoring Norwich 30-18 in the paint.
* Both teams got large contributions from their benches. Plymouth's reserves scored 29, with Norwich getting 28 from its bench.
* Norwich used the three-pointer to mount the comeback. The Cadets were 5-of-10 in the second half, and shot 45.0% from downtown for the game.
HOW IT HAPPENED
* Norwich grabbed its only lead of the game in the opening minute when junior Ryan Booth (Northfield, Vt.) put the visitors up 3-2 after his first of four three-pointers.
* PSU responded with a 9-0 run, behind two baskets from Osgood and a pair of layups from Preston.
* The Cadets cut the lead to 13-10 with 11:41 in the opening half after junior Joe Bertrand (Saugus, Mass.) scored a string of seven straight Norwich points.
* Leading 21-16, the Panthers used another 9-0 run to take control. Clarke had a steal and layup through traffic to start the run, which included a Preston steal and reverse dunk. Freshman Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H.) capped the spurt with a triple from the left wing.
* PSU maintained a double-digit lead through the remainder of the half. A pair of free throws from Norwich junior Zygimantas Sirvydas (Silale, Lithuania) cut the lead to 36-24 at the half.
* After a layup by Norwich junior Ryan Fitzgerald (Winchester, Mass.) pulled the Cadets to within 10, an Arsenault layup and a three-pointer from Johnson gave PSU its biggest lead, 41-26, three minutes into the second half.
* Norwich slowly chipped away at the lead and threes from Fitzgerald and junior Tommy Fitzgerald (Williston, Vt.) cut the deficit to 48-45 at the midpoint of the second half.
* A minute later, Tommy Fitzgerald's layup made it 48-47, but the Panthers responded with five straight points to maintain control.
* Another Preston dunk put the hosts up 57-49 with less than five minutes to play, but Norwich came back again. Booth's fourth three-pointer sparked a 6-0 run to make it a 57-55 game with 1:24 to play.
* Preston connected from inside and a pair of free throws from Aresnault put Plymouth State 63-57 with 17 seconds to go, but a three from Ryan Fitzgerald cut the Panther lead in half.
* Arsenault cooly sank two free throws and the Panther defense allowed Ryan Fitzgerald to go uncontested to the hoop to make it 65-62 with three ticks to play.
* Johnson hit both free throws with two seconds left to wrap up the scoring.
* Plymouth State was perfect on eight free throw attempts in the final 33 seconds.
Plymouth State @ Castleton University, Castleton, Vt. – Tues., Nov 22 (7:30 p.m.)
Norwich vs. New England College, Northfield, Vt. – Sat., Nov. 19 (1:00 p.m.)
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