PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18

No. 8 – Men's Basketball rallies from 12 down to top Keene State in OT

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. – As Panther Nation gears up for the start of the 2018-19 season, we've decided to look back at the impressive 2017-18 year in Plymouth State Athletics. Over the next few weeks we will reflect on some of the most exciting performances of last season while counting down the Top Ten Moments of 2017-18.


            No. 8: Men's Basketball rallies from 12 down to top Keene State in OT 

            Rivalry games have existed forever; Red Sox vs. Yankees, Lakers vs. Celtics, Ohio State vs. Michigan, Duke vs. North Carolina. Regardless of where your fandom lies those games always mean a little more.

            In 1997, Keene State College made the move from NCAA Division II to Division III and the Little East Conference and a new rivalry was born. For the last 21 years, both schools' fan bases circle the head-to-head dates on the calendar.

            In a strange twist of fate, the LEC scheduled the Keene State men's basketball team to visit Foley Gymnasium on Valentine's Day. Or maybe that was appropriate, given the love-hate relationship between the archrivals.

            Keene came into the contest with a 16-7 mark, while the Panthers entered 9-14 overall, but, as they say, you can throw out the records when these two teams collide.

            Sparked by the home crowd the Panthers came out strong. Freshman Sam Bonney-Liles (Hudson, N.H.) drained a three and sophomore Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H.) threw down a dunk as PSU took an early 10-2 lead.

            The Owls rallied, though, and a 12-2 run put the visitors up 31-21 with under five to play. KSC junior Ty Nichols (Springfield, Mass.) gave the Owls their biggest lead of the evening, 39-27, with a pair of free throws in the closing minutes of the half.

            The Panthers regrouped and came out of the break on a mission. Back-to-back threes by junior Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) and Bonney-Liles knotted the game at 40-40 four minutes into the second half and neither team would be able to gain more than a two-point advantage over the next nine minutes.

            The Owls started to pull ahead with six minutes to play, taking a 59-53 lead, but senior Collin Sullivan (Plymouth, N.H.), known more for his crisp passing and scrappy defense than outside shooting, swished a three-pointer from the left corner to cut the deficit in half. That should have been a sign to Panther fans everywhere that this was going to be a special night.

            Osgood sank a fall-away jumper over two Owls to make it a 63-61 game with 1:21 to play and moments later Leroy drained a triple in the face of a KSC defender to bring the Panthers to within 65-64 with under a minute remaining. The home crowd was on its feet with the kind of passion only a late-game comeback against a heated rival could bring.

            With 30 seconds remaining, Keene inbounded under its own basket. Nichols used a screen to break free, cutting back to the in-bounder for a wide open layup, but Osgood flew across the lane and swatted the shot away. In the fight for the loose ball, Nichols caught Bonney-Liles on the arm to pick up his fifth foul. Keene's leading scorer would be forced to watch the rest of the game from the bench.

            Unable to tie the game from the charity stripe the Panthers were forced to foul. Keene made one-of-two to extend the lead to 66-64 and after missing a three-point attempt, Plymouth had to foul again. Once again the Keene State shooter was only able to connect on one-of-two, but with just 13.8 seconds left on the clock, facing Keene's full-court press, the Panthers' hopes looked grim.

            The inbounds pass went to Osgood, who charged along the right side before pulling up from the right wing. The crowd stood in nervous silence as the ball floated through the air with perfect rotation. As the ball slipped through the net to even the game at 67-67 the crowd went bonkers. Keene's buzzer-beating attempt was well off the mark and the teams were set for the only thing better than a rivalry game: an overtime rivalry game.

            Keene would take a one-point lead in the first 75 seconds, but rookie Ruay Bol (South Portland, Maine) drained a wide-open three in the right corner to put PSU in front; the Panthers' first lead since the ten-minute mark of the second half. An Owls' free throw cut the Plymouth lead to 70-69 halfway through the extra frame, but Osgood and Leroy took over from there. Osgood drove down the left side, banking a shot over three Owls before sinking a catch and shoot triple from the left wing to put the home team up 75-69.

            KSC quickly drove and hit a layup on the next possession, but Leroy had the answer at the other end, coming off a screen to nail a deep three from the left side. Osgood made a diving steal on the Owls' next possession and Leroy, after dribbling most of the shot clock out at midcourt, slashed through the entire Keene defense to lay the ball in for an 80-71 lead with just 51 seconds remaining. Osgood was clutch from the free throw line to ice the 84-75 win, bringing the crowd to its feet.

            Some may prefer flowers or chocolates as a Valentine's Day gift, but on this night a come-from-behind win over Keene State is just what Panther Nation ordered.


            PSU Athletics Top Ten Moments of 2017-18 

            No. 7 – Coming Aug. 8

            No. 8 – Men's Basketball rallies from 12 down to top Keene State in OT

            No. 9 – Miller's no-hitter leads softball team to LEC Tournament win

            No. 10 – Panther Park renamed Parish Field


– 30 –