PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Sophomore Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y and junior Kevin Boutilier (North Andover, Mass.) combined for 50 points and 19 rebounds Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University handed Rhode Island College an 84-81 defeat in the Little East Conference men’s basketball opener for both schools.
Pope scored 26 points, grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds and handed out a team-high five assists to lead the Panther offense. He hit 6-of-11 from the field and 14-of-16 from the free throw line. Boutilier connected on 11-of-15 from the floor to finish with a career-high 24 points. The two Panthers combined for 32 points and 17 boards two nights ago in a loss at Salem State.
Senior Jason Harris (Bedford, Mass.) and sophomore Kamari Williams (Springfield, Mass.) led the visitors with 17 points apiece, while sophomore Kinsey Durgin (Greenwood, Maine) added 14 points.
There was a huge difference between the two teams at the free throw line. PSU connected on 28-of-38 from the stripe, while RIC made just 4-of-11. The Anchormen stayed in the game by making 11-of-25 from three-point range.
After five lead changes in the first half, the score was tied 32-32 at halftime. RIC had its last lead (48-47) with 13:21 left in the second half, but PSU went on a 20-8 spurt to take a double-digit advantage (67-56) with just over five minutes remaining. The Panthers scored their final 10 points from the line over the last two minutes, while the Anchormen made three three-pointers in the final 25 seconds to pull within three before time ran out.
PSU, 2-3 overall, plays a non-conference clash Tuesday at Tufts (7:00 p.m.). RIC visits Johnson & Wales Tuesday for a non-conference match-up (7:30 p.m.).
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