NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Sophomore Devin Ruocco (Dover, N.H.) drained a three-pointer with 17 seconds remaining Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University overcame a five-point deficit in the final 30 seconds to pull out an 85-84 victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game at the Tripp Athletic Center.
PSU has won three straight games by a total of five points, improving to 5-3 overall and 2-0 in conference play, while the Corsairs dropped their third in a row to fall to 3-4 overall and 0-2 in the LEC.
The Corsairs overcame a 39-28 halftime deficit to take a five-point lead with less than a minute remaining in the game. PSU senior Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) hit a three-pointer to pull the Panthers to within two, and after UMD missed a pair of free throws, Pelotte found Ruocco in the corner for the game-winning shot.
The Panthers had taken an 11-point lead after 20 minutes, shooting 53.6 percent from the floor while holding UMD to 28 points and a 28.6 shooting percentage.
Pelotte finished with a team-high 23 points, while sophomore Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y.) had another monster game with 19 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists, connecting on seven of his nine shots. Junior Kevin Boutilier (North Andover, Mass.) also contributed 14 points to the Panther cause.
Senior Chris Lapriore (Grafton, Mass.) led the Corsairs with 24 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Joe Britto (New Bedford, Mass.) added 16 points and freshman Tishon Crawley (Bridgeport, Conn.) finished with 12 points.
PSU now takes a break for finals exams and the holidays. The Panthers return to action on Sunday, Jan. 2, with a non-conference game at Middlebury (2:00 p.m.). Plymouth State will also have three home games the first week of January, hosting Bates on Tuesday (7:00 p.m.), Bowdoin on Thursday (6:00 p.m.), and Eastern Connecticut on Saturday (3:00 p.m.).
UMD has one more non-conference game before the break, Wednesday at Johnson & Wales (7:30 p.m.).
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