PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Norwich University men's basketball team rallied in the second half but dropped a 67-62 non-conference game to the host Panthers from Plymouth State University on Thursday. Norwich evens its record on the young season to 1-1 while Plymouth State moves to 2-0 on the year.
The Cadets were led by junior Ryan Booth (Northfield, Vt.) and his 14 points. Junior Ryan Fitzgerald (Winchester, Mass.) struck for 13 points of his own, joining Booth by shooting 4-for-8 from the floor. Junior Zygimantas Sirvydas (Silale, Lithuania) handed out four of his team's 13 assists in the game while junior Mike Hogervorst (Leiden, South Holland, Netherlands) fell just short of a double-double with nine points and as many rebounds.
A trey by Booth in the game's first 1:51 put the Cadets up by a 3-2 margin, but a nine-point run by the Panthers created an 11-3 advantage with only 5:05 expired in regulation time. Plymouth State would ultimately create a 14-point lead late, using a Curtis Arsenault jumper with 1:31 to go in the opening half.
Saddled with a 36-24 deficit at halftime, Norwich came out firing on all cylinders in the second half as Ryan Fitzgerald and junior Tommy Fitzgerald (Williston, Vt.) connected on three-point baskets, shrinking a nine-point Panthers lead to only three points, 48-45, with 9:28 left. Tommy Fitzgerald would capitalize off of an Arsenault turnover, carrying the ball directly to the hoop to cut the score to 48-47.
Hogervorst stepped up large in the final two minutes as a layup in the paint cut the Plymouth State lead to 57-55 with only 1:24 to go. Jack Preston, who finished the day shooting 8-of-9 for the Panthers, recreated a four-point bulge for the hosts with a layup at the 47 second mark.
Ryan Fitzgerald posted a dramatic three-point basket with only nine seconds remaining on the scoreboard, but Arsenault and Ernie Johnson would make four-straight free throws for the Panthers to create the 67-62 final score.
Preston led Plymouth State with 18 total points, narrowly missing a double-double by one rebound. Johnson, Arsenault and Mike Osgood finished with 10 points each while Nathan Clarke assisted seven of his team's 24 field goals. The Panthers finished the game with 15 steals as Norwich committed 25 turnovers in the contest.
The Cadets return to action Saturday, Nov. 19, taking on New England College at 1 p.m. in Andrews Hall.