Panthers lock up playoff spot in Novick's 100th career win
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Devin Cooper (Newfield, N.Y.) recorded his sixth double-double of the year and head coach Andrew Novick earned his 100th career win as Plymouth State University ran past Castleton University, 69-49, in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
The win, coupled with Eastern Connecticut's loss against Keene State, assures the Panthers of a spot in next week's LEC Tournament. PSU, now 14-10 and 8-7 in the LEC, is tied for the fifth spot with Keene State, but could move all the way up to the two seed if things fall the right way on Saturday (Feb. 22) when Plymouth State hosts UMass Boston on Senior Day. Castleton falls to 3-21 and 2-13 in league play.
Plymouth State 69, Castleton 49
Plymouth State (14-10, 8-7 LEC)
Castleton (3-21, 2-13 LEC)
How it Happened.
- The teams went back-and-forth to open the game and sophomore Dante Rivera's (Methuen, Mass.) offensive rebound and three-pointer gave the Panthers a 9-6 lead after the first five minutes.
- Castleton pulled ahead, 12-11, on a triple by junior Terrin Roy (Lawrence, N.Y.), but PSU answered with an 8-1 run capped by freshman Kevin Henry's (Stratham, N.H.) pull-up jumper to give the Panthers a 19-13 lead with 7:29 left in the half.
- Senior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) buried back-to-back threes and Cooper converted a traditional three-point play as PSU pushed the advantage to 28-16 with four minutes to go.
- The teams played even from there, but LeRoy's pair from the charity stripe made it a 38-24 lead at the half.
- Sophomore Chris McCarthy (Chelmsford, Mass.) hit a left corner three as PSU's lead ballooned to 48-26 with 14:33 to go, but Castleton battled back with an 11-1 run behind a trio of three-pointers by junior Amadou Diakite (Harlem, N.Y.) with just over nine minutes remaining.
- Cooper scored on back-to-back fast break opportunities to stop the run and the Panthers lead by at least 15 the rest of the way.
Inside the Numbers:
- Cooper was dominant inside, shooting 8-of-12 for his 18 points, while adding a team-high ten rebounds to go with three steals and two blocked shots.
- LeRoy added 17 points, while nine other players got in the scoring column.
- Rivera had a solid all-around game with seven points, eight rebounds, seven assists and five steals.
- Diakite led all scorers with 23 points after knocking down 6-of-10 from long range.
- PSU owned the interior, outscoring the Spartans by a 24-8 margin in the paint while holding a 37-28 advantage on the glass.
- The Panthers assisted on 18-of-23 field goal makes.
- PSU closes out the regular season against UMass Boston on Saturday (Feb. 22) at 3:00 p.m. The Panthers' Senior Day ceremony will take place just before tip-off.
- Castleton wraps up the year at home against Eastern Connecticut on the same date and time.
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