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PSU Men’s Basketball Survives Thriller

By Kam Towle; For The Clock
On February 22, 2016

PSU Men’s Basketball Survives Thriller

Kam Towle
For The Clock
kmt11@plymouth.edu

CLOCK PHOTO/ALEX CROSSLEY

The PSU Men’s Basketball team defeated LEC rival Keene State College in overtime on Wednesday night, 78-76, at Foley Gymnasium in Plymouth.

This was a team win in every sense of the word, as six Panthers scored in double-figures. Junior Nick MacGregor (Rochester, NH) led all PSU scorers with 14 points. Senior Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) scored 12 points and grabbed 7 rebounds, and Junior Ernie Johnson (Springfield, Mass.) put up 12 points as well. Junior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) and Sophomore Brian Boulay (Keene, N.H.) both added 11 points, and Junior Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) downed 10 points of his own.

Keene State was led by Freshman Ty Nichols (Springfield, Mass.) who pitched in a gamehigh 17 points. Senior Nate Howard (Cheshire, Conn.) led the game in terms of rebounding, grabbing 11 boards. Junior Jaquel Edwards (Manchester, Conn.) scored 15 points for the Owls and Senior Nate Stitchell (Coventry, R.I.) added 13.

The scoring for PSU opened up with two straight lay-ups from Freshman Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) and then came four straight points from the Owls, including a free-throw by Nichols and a three-point shot from Edwards. This would be a theme that would continue for the rest of the evening, with blows going back and forth the entire game.

With 4:17 remaining in the first half, Keene State’s Carlos Ovalle (Mansfield, Conn.) scored on a layup which brought the score to 32-19, which was their biggest lead of the night. Then, PSU fought back with a quick 7-1 run that included two lay-ups and a free-throw by Arsenault, as well as a lay-up by Boulay. In the last minute and 15 seconds of the half, PSU scored 8 points with 5 from Ernie Johnson and a deep, buzzer-beating three from Boulay. Heading into the locker room, the Panthers saw themselves down 39-34.

After a back-and-forth battle, Boulay would strike again with 11 minutes left to play and the game was all knotted up at 48. On the next possession, Nwokeji would score on an offensive put-back and the Panthers held their first lead since the 13:35 mark in the first half. Nwokeji would score another lay-up, this time with 1:37 left in the game, that would give the Panthers a 72-65 lead, and then the Owls mounted a comeback. They went on a 9-2 run in the final 1:30 and tied the game 76-76 with a lay-up from Nichols with 11 seconds remaining, and that would be the score heading into overtime.

In OT, both teams cooled off from the floor. There were no scores until a steal by PSU’s Boulay led to a Jack Preston lay-up with 51 seconds left. Keene’s Matt Ozzella (Medway, Mass.) would hit two free throws with 35 seconds left to tie the game. On the final possession for PSU, Johnson would miss a three-point shot, but Nwokeji would be there for the offensive board and fouled with four ticks left. He hit one of two, got his own miss on the second shot, and was fouled immediately. He would hit another free throw and the final score would end as Plymouth State 78, Keene State 76. PSU improved to 14-8 overall and 5-6 in the LEC, while Keene fell to 13-9 and 6-5 in LEC play.

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