Rivera leads Panthers with 18 points in setback
KEENE, N.H. – Freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) scored a team-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting and classmate Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) notched his fifth double-double of the year, but Keene State College used a 28-10 run over an eight minute span late in the second half to top Plymouth State University, 82-70, in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Spaulding Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
The teams went back-and-forth over the first 30 minutes, with the Owls holding a 55-54 advantage with just under ten minutes to play. KSC scored the next eight points to push the lead to 63-54 when things got testy. Senior Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) was fouled on a drive to the basket that resulted in separate flagrant and technical fouls on the Owls. PSU made two of the four ensuing free throws and had the ball, but a Keene steal and breakaway dunk pushed the hosts' lead to nine, 65-56, and the Owls used the momentum to pull away over the next six minutes.
Plymouth State falls to 11-10 and 5-7 in the LEC, while the Owls improve to 14-7 and 9-3 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 70, Keene State 82
Plymouth State (11-10, 5-7 LEC)
Keene State (14-7, 9-3 LEC)
How it Happened:
* Keene took an early lead, but the Panthers stayed close. Junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) scored seven straight points to rally PSU from a 16-9 deficit, and Rivera hit from downtown to give the Panthers a 19-16 lead after the first 7:31.
* The Owls went back in front with the long ball, but Plymouth remained within striking distance.
* Junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) got to the basket as PSU leapfrogged back in front, 29-28, with seven minutes left in the half.
* Keene rallied to pull ahead, but sophomore Sam Bonney-Liles (Hudson, N.H.) connected from beyond the arc on back-to-back possessions to put Plymouth State ahead, 37-34, with three minutes to go.
* Keene pulled even at 39-39 on a jumper from senior Ty Nichols (Springfield, Mass.) with a minute remaining, but Simpson drained a pair of free throws as the Panthers took a 41-39 lead into the intermission.
* Alisandro opened the second half with two quick baskets, though the Owls tied the game at 45-45 when sophomore James Anozie (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) completed a three-point play.
* The Owls held a slight advantage until freshman Bryton Early (Somersworth, N.H.) hit from long range and Rivera's layup put PSU ahead, 54-52, with 11:43 left to play.
* The hosts scored the next 11 points, leading up to the flagrant foul and subsequent technical. PSU hit 2-of-4 from the line to cut the margin to seven, 63-56, but the Owls came away with a steal which lead to a breakaway dunk and the momentum swung in Keene's favor.
* Nichols connected from beyond the arc to push the lead to 15, 76-61, with three minutes to play.
* Rivera scored the next four points as the Panthers looked to make one last push, but back-to-back triples by freshman Paul Mahon (Franklin, Mass.) put the game out of reach.
Inside the Numbers:
* Rivera added seven assists, five rebounds and four steals to his 18-point effort, while Alisandro finished with 12 points and 12 boards.
* LeRoy chipped in with 12 points and three rebounds before being whistled for his fifth foul.
* Nichols led all players with 33 points and added 11 rebounds, while Anozie contributed 14 points.
* The Owls attempted 31 free throws (22-of-31), while the Panthers went to the line just 15 times (10-of-15).
* Both teams shot 40.0% from beyond the arc, with PSU going 8-of-20 and Keene finishing 10-of-25.
* Keene held a slight 35-32 edge on the glass and the teams each scored 28 points in the paint.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"Our team played tough tonight, but struggled to maintain our scoring during periods of intense physicality," said head coach Andrew Novick. "We battled the entire game and now look forward to Saturday."
* Plymouth State returns home for its final four games of the regular season, starting with an LEC clash with WestConn on Saturday (Feb. 2) at 3:00 p.m.
* The Owls are also in league play on Saturday (Feb. 2) when they visit Castleton for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off.
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