Big second half leads WestConn over PSU Men’s Basketball

Big second half leads WestConn over PSU Men’s Basketball

Rivera paces Panthers in LEC setback

            DANBURY, Conn. – Freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) posted a team-high 18 points, but Western Connecticut State University outscored Plymouth State University 50-31 in the second half as the Panthers fell 94-70 in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game Saturday afternoon at Feldman Arena.

            The Colonials used a big run to set an early tone, scoring 11 of the game's first 12 points, but PSU clawed back to cut the deficit to three, 21-18, midway through the half. WestConn put together another long run to pull back ahead by double-digits, but again the Panthers rallied and senior Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) made it a five point game, 44-39, with his jumper at the end of the first half.

            The hosts broke the game open with a 16-1 surge to begin the second half and the Panthers never challenged down the stretch.

            Plymouth State falls to 8-7 (4-4 LEC) while the Colonials go to 10-5 and 4-2 in league play.


            The Final Score:

            Plymouth State 70, WestConn 94



            Plymouth State (8-7, 4-4 LEC)

            WestConn (10-5, 4-2 LEC)


            How it Happened:

            * WestConn charged out of the gates with juniors Ronald Jefferson (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Fenton Bradley, Jr. (Mansfield, Conn.) combining for nine points as part of the 11-1 run to open the game.

            * Freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) sank a jumper to cap a 14-6 run for the Panthers as the deficit was cut down to three, 21-18, with 12:13 left in the half.

            * The Colonials answered with eight straight points to push the lead back to double figures, but PSU would manage to keep the game within striking distance.

            * Senior Mark DiLauro (North Branford, Conn.) and Alisandro hit to cut the lead to 34-28 with 5:40 to go, and Rivera sank three free throws to make it 42-37 with just over a minute to go.

            * The teams traded baskets and Osgood's jumper made it a 44-39 game at the break.

            * WestConn seized control for good with a 16-1 run over the first 7:37 of the second half and the Panthers wouldn't get closer than 16 points the rest of the way.


            Inside the Numbers:

            * Rivera finished 5-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-4 from beyond the arc, while sinking all five of his free throws for his 18 points.

            * Junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) and Alisandro posted similar lines of 13 points and two rebounds. LeRoy added four assists and two steals, while Alisandro added three steals.

            * Senior Aaron Samuel (Stratford, Conn.) led all scorers with 20 points, while Bradley, Jr. added 19.

            * The Colonials held a 47-21 advantage on the glass and 54-20 edge in points in the paint.


            Straight from the Coach's Mouth:

            "We did a good job of making the right decisions in the first half," said head coach Andrew Novick. "Our inability to score consistently and stop them set us back in the last 20 minutes."


            Up Next:

            * The Panthers take a break from conference play for a game at Northern Vermont-Johnson on Tuesday (Jan. 15). Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.

            * WestConn hosts Keene State in an LEC battle on Wednesday (Jan. 16) at 7:30 p.m.





– 30 –