Simpson scores 1,000th career point in setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) scored his 1,000th career point, but New England College used a stifling defense in the second half to rally past Plymouth State University in the season-opening, non-conference men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Entering the night with 989 career points, Simpson drained a three-pointer from the right wing with just over four minutes remaining in the second half to land on exactly 1,000 points. Simpson, who scored 694 points in two seasons at NHTI, becomes the 33rd player in program history to reach the milestone in a Plymouth State uniform.
PSU opens the season 0-1, while the Pilgrims improve to 1-0.
Plymouth State 78, NEC 86
Plymouth State (0-1)
How it Happened.
- The Pilgrims got off to a fast start, building a 9-2 lead over the first three minutes.
- Plymouth State chipped away, though, and an inside bucket by sophomore Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) evened the game at 17-17 at the 6:36 mark of the half.
- The teams went back-and-forth from there, with NEC taking a 33-32 lead on sophomore Stephen Fama's (Lynnfield, Mass.) driving layup with 4:03 to go, but Simpson connected from deep to spark a 14-4 run to close the half with the Panthers holding a 46-37 lead.
- PSU extended the lead to 12, 55-43, in the opening minutes of the second half, but NEC turned up its defensive pressure to mount a comeback.
- Junior Kareem Octavien (Cambridge, Mass.) gave the Pilgrims the lead, 62-60, with his triple midway through the half and the visitors would extend to a 77-66 advantage with under five minutes to play.
- Junior Devin Cooper (Newfield, N.Y.) sank one-of-two free throws, but Alisandro grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it in, and Cooper came up with a steal of the in-bounds pass and score an easy bucket as PSU cut the margin to 82-78 with 1:26 remaining.
- That was as close as the Panthers would get, however, as NEC got a bucket and pair from the charity stripe to close out the win.
Inside the Numbers:
- Four of the five PSU starters finished in double digits, with senior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) leading the way with 22. Alisandro added 16 points and ten rebounds, with sophomore Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) totaling 14 points, five rebounds and five assists.
- Simpson finished with 12 points and four rebounds, while Cooper contributed seven points and eight boards in his PSU debut.
- Fama led the Pilgrims with 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting and added 11 rebounds, while senior Izaiah Winston-Brooks (Roxbury, Mass.) added 17 points and seven boards.
- PSU sank 10-of-24 from long range, but the Pilgrims outscored the hosts by a 16-8 margin from the free throw line.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"I thought we competed for 40 minutes," said head coach Andrew Novick. "We struggled a bit in the second half, especially with their pressure. When you turn the ball over with a team like that, they make you pay for it, but we have a chance to go back and practice to be better for Tuesday."
- PSU hosts Northern Vermont-Johnson in another non-league game on Tuesday (Nov. 12) at 7:30 p.m.
- NEC will face WPI in the first day of the WPI Tournament on Friday (Nov. 15) at 5:30 p.m.
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