Simpson scores 23 as Panthers' offense cruises
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) scored a game-high 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting as Plymouth State University held off the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 90-86, in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at the Tripp Athletic Center on Saturday.
The PSU offense was clicking on all cylinders, as the team shot a season-high 60.7% from the floor while connecting 12 times from beyond the arc. Plymouth State built a 44-35 lead through the first half, but the Corsairs battled back in the second stanza. The hosts pulled to within three points twice in the final minute, but freshman Chris McCarthy (Chelmsford, Mass.) sealed the win at the free throw line for the Panthers.
With the victory Plymouth State improves to 5-3 and goes to 2-0 in the Little East, while UMass Dartmouth drops to 4-3 and 1-1 in league play.
Plymouth State 90, UMass Dartmouth 86
Plymouth State 5-3, 2-0 LEC
UMass Dartmouth 4-3, 1-1 LEC
How it Happened:
* The Panthers trailed by three early, but used a 17-4 run over a five minute stretch to take a ten-point lead (23-13) on Simpson's lay-in with nine minutes remaining in the opening half.
* PSU extended the advantage to as many as 18 points before settling for a 44-35 advantage at the half.
* Plymouth State pushed the lead back to double-digits in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Corsairs stormed back with a 17-7 run to even the score at 58-58 with 12:41 to play.
* The Panthers responded by scoring 10 of the next 12 points to take a 68-60 lead on a layup from junior Ryan Roggenbuck (Goffstown, N.H.) with 10:14 remaining.
* PSU increased the advantage to nine points with 3:13 to play before Corsairs' freshman Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass.) pulled UMass Dartmouth back to within three (83-80) on a lay-in, steal and three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining.
* Free throws from junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) and a lay-in by freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) gave the Panthers an eight-point lead nine seconds later, but back-to-back lay-ins by freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) and sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) lifted the Corsairs back to within a possession (89-86) with nine ticks remaining.
* McCarthy's free throw with seven seconds to play iced the triumph, as the Corsairs came up empty on a three-point attempt on the final possession.
Inside the Numbers:
* Simpson added five assists to his 23 points and was one of five players to finish in double figures.
* LeRoy added 19 points and three assists, while Alisandro stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three assists.
* Freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) notched his first career double-double with 11 points and 10 assists to go along with four boards and four steals, while classmate Bryton Early (Somersworth, N.H.) added 11 points.
* PSU shot an even 60.0% in the first half (18-of-30) and was even better in the second half, draining 16-of-26 field goal attempts (61.5%).
* Simpson and LeRoy combined for eight of the Panthers' 12 three-pointers.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"UMD is a very talented team," said head coach Andrew Novick. "We did a good job of playing together and getting important contributions from everyone."
* The Panthers head to Southern Maine for an LEC match-up on Wednesday (Dec. 5) with tip-off set for 7:30 p.m.
* UMass Dartmouth hosts #11 MIT for a non-conference tilt on Tuesday (Dec 4) at 7:00 p.m.
**Courtesy of UMass Dartmouth Athletic Communications**
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