KEENE, N.H. - Senior Adam DeChristopher (Brockton, MA) had a career-high 40 points and Jamal Pettiford-Jones (Portsmouth, NH) finished with a career-high 19 rebounds Wednesday night to lead Plymouth State College's men's basketball team to a 89-84 Little East Conference victory over Keene State.
With the victory, PSC (16-6, 10-3 LEC) tied Keene State (18-5, 10-3 LEC) for the top spot in the LEC, with both having one conference game remaining. Keene State travels to Southern Maine on Saturday, while Plymouth State hosts Eastern Connecticut at Foley Gymnasium (4:00 p.m., WMUR-TV). If both teams finish with the same record, the Panthers would have the home-court advantage in the conference tournament after defeating the Owls twice in head-to-head competition.
Trailing 43-41 at the break, the Panthers went on an 18-5 run to start the second half. DeChristopher, who was seven for 11 beyond the arc, hit a three-pointer to put PSC up 61-46 at the 13:30 mark. PSC extended its lead to as much as 17 points (77-60) before the Owls staged a comeback.
Returning from a two-game suspension, Chris Coates had 13 of his 18 points in the first half. A three-pointer by Dave Stantial got the Owls to within four points (83-79) with 32 seconds to play, but DeChristopher hit a pair of free throws and KSC ran out of time.
It was a sweet return to Spaulding Gym for PSC Coach Jim Ferry, a KSC alum and former Owl player. "It felt great. My kids showed a lot of character and heart, and it made me feel proud," said Ferry after the game.
"He's a special player," said Ferry of DeChristopher. "I went down stairs and gave him a big hug. He did some fantastic things, but he does it all the time. There's no question he's the player of the year in the league."
It was a tough loss for the Owls, who were hoping to clinch the LEC title and host the Conference Tournament.
"We had some players who were out there to do their own thing," said a disappointed KSC coach Phil Rowe. "They didn't listen to the coach and got what they deserved."
Sophomore Tony Martinez (Barnstead, NH) had 11 points and seven rebounds for PSC, and junior Shannon Gallagher (Plymouth, NH) added 10 points and six boards. Senior Eric McQueen (Lawrence, MA) finished with eight points, and now needs nine more to become the 15th man in school history to reach the 1,000 point milestone.
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