GORHAM, Maine - Senior forward Mike Fennessy (Lewiston, Maine) poured in a game-high 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the third-seeded University of Southern Maine men's basketball team to a 77-58 victory over sixth-seeded Plymouth State College in a Little East Conference first-round tournament game Tuesday evening at Hill Gymnasium.
The win moves the Huskies into the LEC semifinals against second-seeded Western Connecticut, which beat UMass Boston, 85-83, at the buzzer. Top-seeded UMass Dartmouth will host Eastern Connecticut in the other semifinal, with the championship game set for Saturday at UMD.
USM (12-12) also avenged a 17-point loss to Plymouth State at Hill Gym seven days ago. The Huskies earned their first conference tournament win since 1994, having gone 0-6 in the post-season since beating Eastern Connecticut, 75-64, six years ago to the day (Feb. 22, 1994).
Sophomore Jason St. Pierre (Bangor, Maine) and Fennessy combined to hit three straight three-point shots in the final 1:21 of the first half to give the Huskies a 38-28 lead at the break. USM made nine of 20 three-pointers in the half. The Huskies opened the second half scoring the first nine points to push their lead to 19 points (47-28) and never looked back.
Plymouth State got back to within 11 (65-54) when junior Tony Martinez (Barnstead, NH) hit a three-point shot with 3:35 to play, but USM converted 12 of 12 free throws over the final 2:28 to ice the victory.
Junior Wade Millett (East Waterboro, Maine) came up with a career-high 21 points for the Huskies, including five three-pointers. Senior Corey Zimmerman (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) added 11 points and seven assists.
A conference player of the year candidate, Martinez led the Panthers with 17 points and completes his season with averages with 20.5 points and 8.2 rebounds. He goes into his senior season just five points shy of becoming the 16th men's basketball player in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Senior JaModi Robinson (Framingham, Mass.) scored 14 points for PSC and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds before fouling out with 44 seconds to play. Freshman Dan Craig (Chelmsford, Mass.) added 11 points.
Plymouth State completes its first season under coach John Scheinman with a 14-11 overall record. The Panthers overcame the departure of four starters and former head coach Jim Ferry, and returned only three players with significant minutes from last year's school-record-setting 22-8 squad.
(Courtesy Southern Maine Sports Information)
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