Preston's big game not enough as Panthers fall
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Nick Portelance (Fairhaven, Mass.) posted a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds to help lead the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth past Plymouth State University, 64-59, in a back-and-forth Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium.
Senior Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) had a solid all-around game for the Panthers. The 6'6" forward led all scorers with a game-high 22 points, while adding eight rebounds, three blocks, three steals, two assists and a trio of thunderous dunks.
PSU opened the second half trailing 36-31 but a Preston steal led to a two-on-one break and senior Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) fed Preston for his third dunk of the game to knot the score at 40-40 with 13:01 left to play. The two teams were tied at 42, 44, 46 and 48 until the Corsairs used a 6-0 run to pull ahead 54-48 with four minutes to play. The Panthers would get as close as four points, 58-54, after a three-pointer from senior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.), but UMD would finish a perfect six-of-six from the free throw line in the final minute to ice the victory.
The Corsairs put a halt to Plymouth State's four-game winning streak and improve to 6-3 (2-0 LEC), while PSU closes the 2016 portion of its schedule with a 6-3 overall mark (1-1 LEC).
Foley Gymnasium, Plymouth, N.H. – Sat., Dec. 10, 2016
Plymouth State 59, UMass-Dartmouth 64
Plymouth State 6-3 (1-1 LEC); UMass-Dartmouth 6-3 (2-0 LEC)
* Preston … game-high 22 points (8-of-14), eight rebounds, three steals, three blocks, two assists
* Arsenault … 13 points, two rebounds
* Clarke … five points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals
* Junior Kieran Beck (Danvers, Mass.) … two points, team-high nine rebounds
* Portelance … 16 points, 12 rebounds, three assists
* Senior Chris Mendes (Somerset, Mass.) … 12 points, two rebounds, two assists
* Junior Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) … 10 points (4-of-5), two rebounds
* Junior Joshua Imadiyi (Lynn, Mass.) … six points, seven rebounds
* Senior Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) … six points, six rebounds
BY THE NUMBERS
* Plymouth State shot 35.9% (23-of-64) from the field while connecting on 5-of-16 (31.3%) from beyond the arc, while the Corsairs were 22-of-58 (37.9%) from the floor and 4-of-12 (33.3%) from long range.
* UMass-Dartmouth held a 44-38 advantage on the boards.
* The Panther defense forced 14 UMD turnovers, leading to 20 PSU points.
* Plymouth State got 48 points from its bench, while the Corsair reserves scored 18.
HOW IT HAPPENED
* The Corsairs got off to a good start, pulling ahead 8-0 over the game's first four minutes behind three-pointers from Robinson and Bouchard.
* PSU got on the board a minute later when senior Ernie Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) drained a long-ball, but Bouchard connected from deep again to make it 11-3.
* Preston came up with a steal and broke away for his first dunk to cut the lead to 13-7 with 13:25 left in the half. Moments later a Clarke steal led to another Preston dunk.
* Robinson put the visitors up 27-16 with a deep three and moments later a free throw from Portelance would give UMD its largest lead of the game (12 points) at 30-18 with 5:43 to play in the half.
* PSU used a 13-4 run to cut the deficit to 34-31, but a layup from sophomore Atakan Akcam (Hoosac Falls, N.Y.) left the Corsairs with a 36-31 lead at the half.
* Freshman Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H.) drained a three-pointer in Plymouth's first possession of the second half to cut the margin to 36-34.
* The Panthers kept it close, then used a 6-0 burst to tie the game at 40-40 after Preston's monster dunk.
* UMD would pull ahead by two a number of times, but the Panthers would strike back to retie the score until a 6-0 Corsair's run would put the guests up 64-48 with four minutes to play.
* A layup from Akcam pushed the UMD lead to nine, 58-49, with 3:15 left to play.
* Arsenault connected from behind the arc to cut the margin to 58-54 with 1:11 to play but the Corsairs finished a perfect six-of-six from the charity stripe to hold on for the key LEC win.
* PSU will enjoy some down time for finals and the holidays before getting back on the court for a home, non-conference game against Elms College on Tuesday (Jan. 3). Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m.
* The Corsairs have three games remaining on the 2016 portion of their schedule. Next up is a home game against Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Tuesday (Dec. 13), with game time set for 7:00 p.m.
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