Simpson, Rivera lead Panthers in LEC setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) scored 17 points on 6-of-8 shooting, and freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) added 18 points, eight assists and five steals, but Plymouth State University fell to the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 88-81, in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday.
The Panthers led 62-51 midway through the second half, but sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) hit one of his five three-pointers in the game to spark a UMD comeback. The visitors used a 14-5 run over the next four minutes to whittle the lead down to two, 67-65, and a pair of free throws gave the Corsairs a 76-71 lead with 3:44 to play.
Rivera finished a driving layup and buried a three on the next possession to tie the game at 76-76 with 2:50 remaining, but UMD went right back in front and wouldn't trail again.
Plymouth State drops to 12-12 and 6-9 in the LEC, while the Corsairs improve to 17-6 and 11-3 in league play.
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 81, UMass Dartmouth 88
Plymouth State (12-12, 6-9 LEC)
UMass Dartmouth (17-6, 11-3 LEC)
How it Happened:
* UMass Dartmouth pulled ahead as a pair of free throws gave the visitors a 14-11 lead two minutes later, but sophomore Sam Bonney-Liles (Hudson, N.H.) hit from long range to tie the game.
* Simpson sank one of his three triples as the Panthers went back up, 23-18, with nine minutes left in the opening half, but the Corsairs see-sawed back in front, 26-23, following a deep ball from Ashworth.
* Rivera and Simpson connected from beyond the arc and Simpson slashed to the rim as the Panthers leapfrogged back ahead, 31-26, with 5:47 left in the half. Simpson added another triple, and Osgood extended the PSU lead to 38-30 after finishing off a pretty feed from Rivera at the two minute mark, and the Panthers would take a 40-33 lead into halftime.
* UMD used a 9-2 spurt to knot the score at 42-42 in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Panthers went right back ahead. Freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) finished a three-point play as the hosts took a 52-46 lead with 14:28 left.
* The Corsairs stayed close, but a quick spurt pushed the PSU lead to double-figures, 62-51, with 10:20 to play.
* Ashworth hit from long range to spark a 16-7 burst over the next four minutes as UMD cut the deficit to 69-67 and moments later senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) put the Corsairs up, 72-71, with a pair from the charity stripe.
* The lead grew to 76-71 following two more Obiora free throws before Rivera scored five straight points to even the game at 76-76.
* After a UMD free throw put the visitors back in front, Ashworth drilled another three, his fifth of the game, to put the Corsairs ahead 80-76 with 1:06 to go, and UMass Dartmouth would drain 8-of-10 free throws to close out the win.
Inside the Numbers:
* Nearly all five starters finished in double figures for the Panthers, led by Rivera's all-around effort. The rookie posted 18 points, eight assists, five steals and four rebounds and sank 4-of-8 from long range.
* Simpson added 17 points, three assists and three steals while shooting 75% from the floor and 3-of-4 from distance, while LeRoy added 16 points, four rebounds and four assists.
* Osgood added 12 points and seven boards, with Alisandro just missing out on another double-double with nine points and nine rebounds. He added three blocks, two steals and two assists to his stat line.
* Ashworth paced the Corsairs with a game-high 20 points, including 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc. Obiora and freshman Sean Leahy (Hanson, Mass.) added 14 points apiece, while freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) and senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey) chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
* PSU led in most offensive categories, outscoring the Corsairs 42-28 in the paint and 14-0 in fastbreak points, but the visitors made up for the difference at the free throw line. UMass Dartmouth made 21-of-28 at the charity stripe, while the Panthers had just 10 attempts (9-of-10).
* UMD owned a 41-34 edge on the boards.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We knew we had to share the ball offensively and I thought we did that pretty well in the first half," said head coach Andrew Novick. "But what I think we did really well in the first half is we really guarded those guys well, played good defense and rebounded. We didn't do it quite as well in the second half and they exploited us on that. We'll have to do a better job of that to finish out games going forward."
* Plymouth State faces Southern Maine in the regular season finale on Wednesday (Feb. 13) at 7:30 p.m.
* The Corsairs visit UMass Boston on Wednesday (Feb. 13) at the same time.
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