PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Uche Nwokeji (Lynn, Mass.) scored a career-high 20 points and senior Petey Skevas (Wethersfield, Conn.) added 13 points and a career-high 13 assists Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University defeated the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 71-61, in the Little East Conference men's basketball opener for both schools at Foley Gymnasium.
Plymouth State won its fifth game in a row, its longest winning streak since January of 2010. The Panthers improved to 6-1 overall (1-0 LEC), while the Corsairs slipped to 4-3 overall (0-1 LEC).
UMass Dartmouth was led by freshman Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.), who finished with 20 points, on 8-for-16 shooting, and seven rebounds. Sophomore Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) added 11 points and eight rebounds, while freshman Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points.
Nwokeji converted 9-of-13 shots from the field and grabbed six rebounds while Skevas made 5-of-7 shots and had just two turnovers against his 13 assists along with four steals. Junior Alex Burt (Dover, N.H.) and freshman Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) added 10 points apiece and senior Mark MacGregor (Rochester, N.H.) grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds.
PSU jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first four minutes and never looked back. The Panthers maintained a single-digit lead the next 10 minutes until a 3-pointer from freshman Logan Kesty (New Boston, N.H.) with six minutes to play pushed the margin to 11 points, 30-19. Skevas followed with a bucket as PSU took its largest lead of the half, and went into the locker room with a 42-32 halftime advantage.
Bouchard and sophomore Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) scored the first four points of the second half for UMD, but that's as close as the Corsairs would come. Arsenault hit a two and Burt followed with a three to push the Panther lead back up to double digits (47-36). PSU pulled away as the second half went on, leading by as many as 18 points with three minutes to play.
PSU shot 50 percent from the field (30-of-60) while holding UMD to 36 percent from the field (24-of-66).
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, December 10, when the Corsairs travel to Roger Williams University.
(Contributions from Plymouth State sports information)