Rivera leads Panthers in LEC opener
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) led Plymouth State University with 22 points, but freshman Shion Darby (Peekskill, N.Y.) notched a game-high 42 points to deny the Panthers in their Little East Conference men's basketball opener at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
The teams went back and forth in an up and down first half, with the Anchormen holding a narrow 36-34 advantage at the half. RIC led throughout the second half, but the Panthers remained within striking distance. Rivera's three and a pair of free throws made it a 50-47 deficit with 12:20 to play, but that was as close as they would get as the Anchormen pulled away.
Prior to the game Plymouth State honored senior Ryan Roggenbuck (Goffstown, N.H.), who will have completed his academic requirements at the end of the semester and was participating in his final home game.
PSU drops to 4-4 overall and 0-1 in the LEC, while RIC runs its record to 8-1 and 2-0 in conference play.
Plymouth State 79, RIC 91
Plymouth State (4-4, 0-1 LEC)
RIC (8-1, 2-0 LEC)
How it Happened.
- Junior Devin Cooper (Newfield, N.Y.) used a nice crossover dribble to blow past a defender for a layup. He was fouled on the drive and sank the free throw for an 11-6 lead after the first five minutes.
- Senior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) drilled a corner three and Rivera sank a fast break pull-up jumper to push the advantage to 16-10 two minutes later.
- RIC rallied with seven straight points and junior Tim Dent (Portland, Maine) finished from inside after a pretty feed from Darby to pull ahead, 17-16, midway through the half.
- Rivera found sophomore Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) for a left-corner triple, but a pair of free throws by senior Benjamin Vezele (Providence, R.I.) knotted the game at 24-24 with 5:34 left in the half.
- RIC went up by four on Darby's driving jumper, but a pair of Simpson free throws cut the Anchormen's lead to 36-34 at the half.
- Senior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) nailed a straight-on three to make it a 42-39 game three minutes into the second half, but Darby had five straight points for the Anchormen.
- Rivera sank a three and made both free throws following a RIC technical foul to pull the Panthers to within 50-47 with 12 minutes to go.
- Darby answered with a deep three and an old-fashioned three-point play and RIC began to pull away.
- Rivera's triple made it a ten-point game, 84-74, with just over a minute remaining, but RIC was solid from the free throw line to wrap up the game.
Inside the Numbers:
- Rivera led the Panthers with 22 points off the bench and added seven assists and four steals. LeRoy chipped in with 17 points, while Cooper went 6-of-9 from the floor for 16 points to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals.
- Alisandro added 13 points and seven rebounds for the Panthers.
- Darby had a monster game, going 13-of-22 from the floor, including 4-of-8 from distance, for 42 points, while Vezele had a double-double of 16 points and 14 rebounds.
- Junior Keyshaun Jacobs (Lynn, Mass.) added 23 points and four rebounds.
- RIC held a 44-32 edge on the glass, but the Panthers' ball movement resulted in 16 assists on 29 made baskets.
- PSU's reserves outscored their counterparts by a 38-6 margin.
Straight From the Coach's Mouth:
"I thought we had moments where we played well and we maintained our balance in the first half," said head coach Andrew Novick. "We've got to go back to the drawing board a bit and get back to the fundamentals at the defensive end."
- PSU wraps up its fall semester schedule next Saturday (Dec. 14) with a 1:00 p.m. contest at Gordon College.
|Roggenbuck with his family and head coach Novick|
– 30 –