Eagles Open 2017 with Comeback Win over Panthers

Photo by Martha Howe
Photo by Martha Howe

PLYMOUTH, N.H. – It was a tale of two halves on Thursday evening as the Green Mountain College men's basketball team kicked off the New Year with a 64-59 come from behind win against Plymouth State University at Foley Gymnasium.

Green Mountain (5-4) mustered just 22 points on 27 percent shooting, were outrebounded 22-13 and turned the ball over 12 times to find itself down 30-22 at halftime. The Eagles nearly doubled their first half output in the second half by scoring 42 points, held the opposition to 29 points, outrebounded Plymouth State 18-16 and drew 11 fouls while committing just five.

Thomas Brown scored 16 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead the Eagles. Pierce Weatherspoon scored 13 points and grabbed five boards, while Patrick Rittmon also hit double-digit points with 11 and grabbed six boards. Javier Lugris and Diante Warner led the reserves with seven points while Lugris also contributed six boards and four steals.

Jack Preston had a solid game for the Panthers with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting.  Mike Osgood added 12 points, five rebounds and four blocks in the setback. Jaylen Leroy notched eight points and five boards while Nate Clarke scored five points in addition to his seven boards, three assists and two steals.

Both teams struggled to find their shots in the early going, but PSU pulled ahead 11-5 when a steal by Leroy led to a Preston layup 5:36 into the game.

 A free throw from Brown pulled the Eagles to within 13-12 at the midpoint of the first half, but Leroy answered with a triple to put PSU up 16-12.

The Eagles hung around, never letting the deficit reach more than seven until Plymouth's Ernie Johnson found Preston along the baseline for a thunderous dunk to give the Panthers a 28-20 lead with 1:18 left in the half.

Lugris connected on a pair of free throws for the Eagles, then Preston closed the scoring in the half with an inside bucket to make it a 30-22 game at the break.

 GMC opened the second half with an 8-2 run, with Brown accounting for five points, to cut the margin to 32-30 after three minutes.

 Plymouth (7-4) pulled back ahead by seven, 43-36, when Preston hit on one-of-two free throws with 12:31 to play.

The Eagles answered with seven-straight points, capped by a three-pointer from Darius Wynn to knot the score at 43-43 with 10:51 remaining.

The two teams traded the lead over the next eight-plus minutes, leading to Sullivan's three-pointer for the Panthers.

Brown followed with an old-fashioned three-point play to give the visitors a lead they wouldn't relinquish the rest of the way hitting on their free throws to ice the game.

Plymouth State finished the game 26-of-60 (43.3%) and the Eagles ended up 21-of-58 (36.2%) after the rough first half. Green Mountain owned a significant advantage from the charity stripe.  GMC connected on 16-of-22 attempts, while the Panthers had just six attempts.

Green Mountain will head to Castleton on Saturday for a date with the North Atlantic Conference leading Spartans at 1 p.m.