NORTH DARTMOUTH, Mass. - Seniors Nick Cecilio (Centerville, Mass.) and Marques Houtman (New Bedford, Mass.) scored 23 points apiece in their final regular season home game Saturday to lead the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth men's basketball team to an 87-68 Little East Conference victory over Plymouth State College.
The win wraps up the regular season title for the Corsairs, who are 22-2 overall and ranked No. 1 in New England. UMD finishes 12-2 in conference play and will host the LEC semi-finals and championship game next weekend (Feb. 23-24).
Plymouth State concludes the regular season at 13-11 overall and alone in fourth place in the LEC at 8-6. The Panthers will be the fourth seed in the upcoming conference tournament, and will host fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut (12-12, 6-8) on Tuesday (Feb. 20) at Foley Gymnasium (7:30 p.m.)
Cecilio connected on 9-of-17 field goal attempts while grabbing a game-high 10 rebounds. Houtman did much of his work from the free throw line, where he was 9-of-13, while also making a pair of three-point field goals. Sophomore Brian Cagle (Norwich, Conn.) also added 11 points for the Corsairs.
Plymouth State got a team-high 20 points from freshman Frankie Finklea (Dorchester, Mass.), including five successful three-point field goals. Senior Tony Martinez (Barnstead, N.H.) tossed in 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and junior Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.) added 13 points and eight boards.
The Panthers trailed by only two points at the half, 47-45, but were outscored 40-23 after the break. PSC made just 5-of-27 shot attempts in the second half (.185).
PSC and Eastern Connecticut, Tuesday night's opponent, split the season series, with each school winning on its home court. The Panthers won 83-69 in Plymouth on Dec. 2nd, and ECSU prevailed 85-70 in Willimantic on Jan. 20th.