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February 20, 1999

PSC Men's Basketball outlasts ECSU in OT

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Todd Steffanides (Fitchburg, MA) hit a three-pointer with less than a second left in regulation Saturday, and Plymouth State College went on to an 82-76 Little East Conference overtime victory over Eastern Connecticut State University at Foley Gymnasium.

The win gives the Panthers a share of their second straight LEC regular season title. PSC, 18-6 overall and 11-3 in the LEC, shares the title with Keene State, but the Panthers win the tiebreaker and will have the home-court advantage throughout the LEC Tournament. Eastern Connecticut falls to 13-11 overall and 7-7 in the conference.

PSC will host Rhode Island College Tuesday in an LEC first-round game, and with a victory, would host the LEC semi-finals and final next weekend. Eastern Connecticut tied Southern Maine for fourth place, but lost the tiebreaker to the Huskies and will travel to Gorham, ME, on Tuesday.

The Panthers put all five starters in doubles figures. Senior Adam DeChristopher (Brockton, MA) led PSC with 20 points, and classmate Eric McQueen (Lawrence, MA) added 18 points, including career-point number 1,000 (the 15th player in school history to reach the milestone). Steffanides finished with 13 points, sophomore Tony Martinez (Barnstead, NH) contributed 12, and Jamal Pettiford-Jones (Portsmouth, NH) added 10 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

"Once again, this shows the character of our team, and the leadership of these guys," said PSC coach Jim Ferry. "How appropriate is it for a senior point guard in his last home game to hit a shot at the buzzer like that?"

Eastern Connecticut got 21 points from freshman Rich Vega (Hartford, CT). Junior Jay Wetherell (Milford, CT) contributed 13 points, Rich Martin (Bridgeport, CT) added 12, and Ashon Avent (Hartford, CT) scored 10.

"We haven't been guarded all year like we were today," added Ferry. "They really came at us, and we had to earn every basket. We knew if we kept our mouths shut and did our work, we could accomplish something special, and we did."

There were seven lead changes in the second half, and Eastern Connecticut led by three on a pair of free throws by Wetherell with 17 seconds left.

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