DARTMOUTH, Mass. -- Junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) scored 23 points and dished off five assists to lead five players in double figures as Plymouth State shot 61 percent from the field and held on for a 90-86 Little East Conference men’s basketball victory over UMass Dartmouth Saturday afternoon at the Tripp Athletic Center.
The visiting Panthers (5-3, 2-0 LEC) trailed by three early but used a 17-4 run over a five minute stretch to take a 10-point lead (23-13) on Simpson’s lay-in with nine minutes remaining in the opening half, and Plymouth State extended that margin to as much as 18 points before settling for a 44-35 advantage at the break. The visitors’ built a double-digit edge in the opening 1:52 after intermission before the host Corsairs (4-3, 1-1 LEC) stormed back with a 17-7 run of their own to even matters at 58-58 on a pair of free throws from senior Arinze Obiora (Hyde Park, Mass.) with 12:41 to play, but the Panthers responded by scoring 10 of the game’s next 12 points to take an eight-point cushion (68-60) on junior Ryan Roggenbuck’s (Goffstown, N.H.) lay-in with 10:14 remaining.
Plymouth State increased its advantage to nine points with 3:13 to play before freshman Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass.) pulled UMass Dartmouth back to within three (83-80) on a lay-in, steal and three-pointer with 44 seconds remaining. Free throws by junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) and a lay-in by freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) gave the Panthers an eight point lead nine seconds later, but back-to-back lay-ins by freshman Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) and sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) lifted the Corsairs back to within a possession (89-86) with nine ticks remaining. Freshman Chris McCarthy’s (Chelmsford, Mass.) free throw with seven seconds to play iced the visitors’ triumph, as the Corsairs missed a three-pointer on the final possession.
LeRoy added 19 points and three assists on the day for Plymouth State, which received 12 points, nine boards, four steals and three assists from Alisandro. Freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) notched a double-double effort of 11 points, 10 assists, four caroms and four steals for the Panthers, who received 11 points from freshman Bryton Early (Somersworth, N.H.). The visitors, who received all but 14 of their points from their starting five, shot 60 percent (18-30) from the field in the opening 20 minutes of play and bettered that mark in the second half (16-26), as Simpson and LeRoy combined for eight of Plymouth State’s 12 three-pointers for the contest.
Obiora posted a double-double effort of 21 points, 14 rebounds and five steals in the setback for UMass Dartmouth, which received 21 points and eight boards from fellow senior Atakan Akcam (Ankara, Turkey). Ashworth added 17 points and four assists for the Corsairs, who received 10 points, seven caroms and three assists from Azor. Seablom chipped in with nine points and three assists for the hosts, who shot 49 percent (32-66) from the floor and converted 16 offensive rebounds into 20 points.
UMass Dartmouth hosts 11th-ranked MIT in a non-league outing on Tuesday evening at the Tripp Athletic Center that tips-off at 7:00 pm, while Plymouth State heads to Gorham, Maine on Wednesday evening to take on Southern Maine in a Little East Conference clash that tips-off at 7:30 pm.
(Photo Credit: Lyrik Gelmete '21)