Sharp-shooting PSU Men’s Basketball runs past Castleton

Sharp-shooting PSU Men’s Basketball runs past Castleton

Rivera, Panthers set school records for made threes

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) set a new school record with ten made three-pointers to lead Plymouth State University to an 82-49 win over Castleton University in a Little East Conference men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.

            Rivera finished 10-of-18 from downtown for a career-high 34 points, eclipsing the former mark by one after connecting from well beyond the arc on the right wing late in the second half. The Panthers tied a school record with 16 triples as a team.

            The sharp-shooter opened the scoring with a triple and PSU raced out to an 11-2 lead over the first five minutes. Castleton cut the deficit to four points, 15-11, after 7:11, but Plymouth maintained the lead. The Spartans stayed within striking distance and a triple from sophomore Eric Shaw (Sutter Creek, Calif.) pulled the visitors to within 28-24 with just under five minutes left in the opening half, but Rivera responded with a three of his own and Plymouth State went into the half with a 34-24 lead.

            The Panthers came out fast in the second half, increasing the lead to 44-26 after three minutes of action. Rivera connected from distance on back-to-back possessions midway through the half to push the margin to 20 and PSU never looked back.

            With the win the Panthers improve to 10-7 and 5-4 in the LEC, while Castleton falls to 3-14 and remains winless in nine league contests.


            The Final Score:

            Plymouth State 82, Castleton 49



            Plymouth State (10-7, 5-4 LEC)

            Castleton (3-14, 0-9 LEC)


            How it Happened:

            * Rivera opened the scoring with a straight-on three on the Panthers' first possession, and his jumper from inside the arc put PSU ahead 11-2 after four minutes.

            * The Spartans hung within striking distance as junior Casey Belade (Shelton, Conn.) and sophomore freshman Michael McCoy (Charlotte, N.C.) hit from distance to pull within 15-11 with 12:49 left in the half.

            * Plymouth State stayed in front, but Castleton wouldn't go away and Shaw's trifecta pulled the visitors to 28-24 with just under five minutes left in the first half, but Rivera answered from distance at the other end and the Panthers went into the half with a 34-24 lead.

            * PSU used a quick 10-2 spurt to extend the lead to 44-26 just 3:20 into the second half and the Panthers remained ahead by double figures the rest of the way.

            * Rivera hit from long range on consecutive possessions as PSU's lead ballooned to 22, 59-37, midway through the second half.

            * The rookie set the mark with a deep three from the left wing with 4:45 to play, giving the hosts a 70-43 lead and senior Liam Densmore (Portland, Maine) came off the bench and hit from long range twice to give Plymouth State its largest lead, 79-46, with two minutes to go.

            * Junior Janvier Johnson (Windsor, Conn.) banked in a three as the shot clock expired in the final ten seconds to tie the Plymouth State team record.


            Inside the Numbers:

            * Rivera finished 12-of-21 from the floor for his 34 points, and added four assists and three rebounds.

            * Freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) added 12 points (6-of-8), five rebounds, five steals and two assists and senior Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) chipped in with 11 points (5-of-7), nine rebounds and five assists.

            * The Spartans were led by Shaw's 11 points, while Belade added 10. Shaw and junior Igor Almeida (Praia, Cape Verde) led Castleton with six rebounds apiece.

            * PSU finished 16-of-32 from long range and shot 51.6% from the floor.

            * The Panthers moved the ball exceptionally well, assisting on 24 of 33 made baskets.

            * Rivera surpassed PSU Hall of Famer Nick Pelotte '05, who owned the previous mark with nine triples as part of a 62-point effort in the 2004-05 LEC Championship game against Western Connecticut State University on Feb. 26, 2005.

            * The Panthers last made 16 triples as a team in a 107-104 win over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth on Feb. 22, 1992.


            Straight from the Coach's Mouth:

            "I thought we did a nice job of sharing the basketball," said head coach Andrew Novick. "Defensively we did a good job of being intense and you definitely have to do that in a conference game. Dante [Rivera] is a great young player and a lot of fun to coach. He's certainly deserving of the accomplishment. I think this is just the start for him, but the thing that's most impressive about him is he's just a humble kid who's out there to help his teammates and to win games. It's that spirit that we need for the rest of the season."


            Up Next:

            * Plymouth State has a pair of road contests against LEC opponents next week, starting with a trip to Rhode Island College on Wednesday (Jan. 23). Game time is slated for 7:30 p.m.

            * The Spartans host Northern Vermont University-Johnson on Monday (Jan. 21) for a 5:00 p.m. tip-off.







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