PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Wade Millett (East Waterboro, Maine) scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Tuesday evening to lead the University of Southern Maine men's basketball team to an 85-78 Little East Conference upset victory over Plymouth State College at Foley Gymnasium.
The victory, USM's third in a row, moves the Huskies to 8-15 overall and 3-10 in the LEC and keeps them alive for the sixth and final berth in next week's LEC Tournament. PSC had its three-game winning streak stopped, falling to 12-10 overall and 7-5 in conference play. The Panthers had already clinched home-court advantage in the opening round of the LEC Tourney.
Millett scored 12 of his 25 points form beyond the three-point arch. He got offensive support from freshman Jeff White (Etna, Maine), who scored 17 points, and sophomore Ryan Thomas (Hampden, Maine), who connected non 8-of-10 field goal attempts to finish with 16 points. Senior Corey Zimmerman (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) was the only other scorer to reach double figures, dropping in 11 points off the Husky bench.
Plymouth State was led by the duo of senior Tony Martinez (Barnstead, N.H.) and junior Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.). Martinez scored a team-high 20 points and moved into third place on the school's all-time scoring list with 1,478 points (passing Dave Levesque, who had 1,475 from 1988-91). Blackburn finished with 16 points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
The Panthers also got 13 points form sophomore Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.) and 12 from freshman Frankie Finklea (Dorchester, Mass.), each hitting three three-point field goals.
Southern Maine led nearly wire to wire. The Huskies went up by 10 points (21-11) less than eight minutes into the game, and enjoyed a 15-point advantage (29-14) with 7:36 to play in the opening half before maintaining an 11-point bulge (42-31) at the break.
Plymouth State made a few runs in the second half, but USM held its ground, leading by 11 points (74-63) with 6:18 on the clock. The Panther went on an 11-2 run to pull to within two points (76-74) with 2:46 to play, but could get no closer. Shots were not falling for the Panthers, and the Huskies held on for the win.
Plymouth State plays its final regular season home game Thursday (Feb. 15) against Rhode Island College before wrapping up the regular season Saturday (Feb. 17) at league-leading UMass Dartmouth (3:00 p.m.). Southern Maine concludes its regular season Saturday at Western Connecticut (3:00 p.m.).