Panthers tip-off season at home Nov. 9
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University men's basketball team was picked to finish sixth in the Little East Conference (LEC) in 2019 following a vote of the league's nine head coaches.
Eastern Connecticut, which has appeared in each of the last three tournament championship games, was chosen to win the LEC, just ahead of last year's champion Keene State. The two teams each received four first place votes, with the Warriors earning 58 points to Keene's 57.
UMass Dartmouth (49 points) was picked fourth, with Rhode Island College (38) taking the final first place vote to finish fourth in the poll. WestConn (37) narrowly edged out PSU (35) for the fifth place spot, with UMass Boston (27), Southern Maine (15) and Castleton (8) rounding out the poll.
Head coach Andrew Novick has led the Panthers to the LEC Tournament each his eight years at the helm. Last winter PSU claimed the sixth seed after matching the most conference wins in nine years after going 7-9 in league play. The Panthers fell to third seeded UMass Dartmouth in the first round, but a dynamic returning core and load of fresh talent leaves Plymouth State with high expectations for 2019-20.
Senior captain Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) is the team's top returning scorer. An All-LEC Second Team selection last winter, LeRoy surpassed the 1,000 career point threshold and enters the season eighth among the Panthers' all-time scoring leaders with 1,299 points. Fellow senior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) made an impact last year after transferring from NHTI and needs just 11 points to reach the 1,000-point mark for his career.
Another year of development for sophomores Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) and Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) bodes well for Novick as well, though neither needed long to adjust to the college game. Rivera, the defending LEC Rookie of the Year, dazzled fans with his ball-handling and sharp-shooting, setting the program record for made three-pointers in a game with ten (10-of-18) in a win over Castleton last January. Alisandro did it all for the Panthers, leading the team in rebounding (7.8/game) and averaging 13.2 points per game. The silky smooth lefty led the team with seven double-doubles, including a 24-point, 12-rebound effort against Eastern Connecticut in late January.
Plymouth State opens the regular season at home against New England College a week from Saturday (Nov. 9). Tip-off is set for 2:00 p.m.
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