PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Tony Martinez (Barnstead, NH) connected on eight-of-nine field goal attempts and finished with a game-high 19 points Wednesday night at Foley Gymnasium, leading Plymouth State College to an 87-76 victory over Wheaton College in the quarterfinals of the ECAC Division III New England Men's Basketball Tournament.
The Panthers, seeded No. 1 in the tournament, advance to a semi-final game Friday at Foley Gymnasium (7:00 p.m.) against fifth-seeded Amherst College. The Lord Jeffs advanced Wednesday with a 104-98 upset victory at Keene State.
Plymouth State's win over eighth-seeded Wheaton gives the Panthers a 21-7 overall record, setting a new school record for victories in a season. The Lyons complete the season with a 17-10 overall mark.
Martinez scored 11 of his 19 points in the first half, sinking all four field goal attempts and helping the Panthers to a 49-32 advantage at the break. Senior Adam DeChristopher (Brockton, MA) added 16 points and nine rebounds to the cause, and his four three-pointers gives him 269 "treys" for his career, just four short of the school record.
Senior Todd Steffanides (Fitchburg, MA) also contributed to PSC's win with 14 points and a game-high seven assists.
Wheaton got 17 points and seven assists from junior Lloyd Palmer (Dorchester, MA), as well as 13 points from classmate Justin Leftkowski (Torrington, CT) and 11 points off the bench from freshman Luke Gordon (Cherry Valley, MA).
Plymouth State shot 60 percent in the first half, running up the 17-point lead. The Panthers finished the game with a .545 shooting percentage, compared to Wheaton's 37 percent, and PSC owned a 43-32 advantage on the boards. Senior Jamal Pettiford-Jones (Portsmouth, NH), junior Shannon Gallagher (Plymouth, NH) and sophomore Ryan Bishop (Cohasset, MA) all contributed nine points for the Panthers.
In the other quarterfinal games, #2 seed Williams knocked out defending champion and #7 seed Colby-Sawyer, and #3 seed Colby defeated #6 seed Salem State. Williams will host Colby Friday at 7:00 p.m in the other semi-final, with the tournament championship game slated for Sunday at 2:00 p.m. on the campus of the highest remaining seed.
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