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Panthers defeat UMB for third straight win

BOSTON, Mass. - The Plymouth State College men's basketball team overcame a huge afternoon by University of Massachusetts Boston point guard Frankie Patten (Brighton, MA) to defeat the Beacons 89-80 Saturday at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston.

The Beacons are now 9-13 on the season and 4-8 in the Little East Conference, while the Panthers improve to 12-9 overall and 7-4 in the LEC.

Senior Tony Martinez (Barnstead, N.H.) led Plymouth State with 24 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals, and a block. Junior Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.) netted 19 points and grabbed nine boards, while dishing for an assist, swatting a couple shots and making a steal. Freshman Frankie Finklea (Dorchester, Mass.) ended the day with a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds, seven assists and a steal.

Patten pulled out all the stops, scoring 45 points to break Ken Hall's 17-year old UMB mark of 41 points set against Upsala College on January 20, 1984. The junior hit on 14-35 from the floor, including 4-15 from three-point range and was 13-16 from the free throw line. For good measure, the Trinity Catholic graduate dished for a game-high eight assists and collected four rebounds and two steals as well. Patten snapped a tie with Hall by drilling a three-pointer with 16 seconds to go in the game.

Plymouth State took a 42-40 edge into halftime, before the Beacons pulled even at 46-46 with 18:13 showing on a lay-up by junior center Earl West (South Boston, MA). The Panthers led from there on out, with UMass Boston staying as close as 70-66 with 5:25 left to play in the contest. Plymouth State continued to apply the pressure and increased its lead to a game-high 12-point advantage at 88-76 with 18 seconds left in the game.

The Beacons enjoyed a 15-9 lead with 13:39 to go in the first half, following an 11-2 run led by four points each from Patten and junior forward Joe Guertin (Weymouth, MA), before the Panthers ripped off nine unanswered points to take an 18-15 lead with 10:29 to play in the opening half. Finklea converted a lay-up to give PSC a 38-33 lead with 1:57 showing in the first half and the Panthers maintained the margin, until Patten ended the session with a trifecta to cut the lead to 42-40 at halftime.

PSC plays two straight LEC home games this week at Foley Gymnasium -- Tuesday (Feb. 13) vs. Southern Maine (7:30 p.m.) and Thursday (Feb. 15) against Rhode Island College (7:00 p.m.) before wrapping up the regular season next Saturday (Feb. 17) at UMass Dartmouth (3 p.m.)