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Loughlin leads PSC past Salem State

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Mike Loughlin (Manchester, N.H./West) scored a career-high 26 points Thursday night, leading Plymouth State College's men's basketball team to an impressive 85-70 non-conference victory over Salem State College at Foley Gymnasium.

The victory improves the Panthers to 3-1 on the season, while Salem State, which made the NCAA Division III Final Four in 2000 and finished 22-6 last season, drops to 1-3.

Louglin, who did not score 10 points in a game as a freshman, hit double figures for the third time this season. He hit 8-of-11 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and all eight free throws.

PSC also got 15 points from sophomore Frankie Finklea (Dorchester, Mass.) and 12 points apiece from juniors Donnelle Combs (Mitchellville, Md.) and Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.).

The Vikings were led by sophomore Bobby Michalczyk (Lowell, Mass.), who registered 16 points and seven rebounds. Senior Peter Szklarz (Auburn, Mass.) was the only other Viking to score in double figures, finishing with 11 points.

Plymouth State held a single-digit lead most of the first half, but Salem State senior Dan Bunker (Roslindale, Mass.) hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to tie the game at halftime, 33-apiece. The Panthers took control throughout the second half, shooting 57 percent from the field and holding Salem State to a 38 percent clip. PSC went ahead by 10 with 13 minutes on the clock and went up by 19 midway through the period before cruising home the rest of the way.

The Panthers remain at Foley Gymnasium for the Little East Conference opener this Saturday, Dec. 1st, vs. UMass Dartmouth (3:00 p.m.). The Corsairs are the defending LEC champions, and were the No. 1 team in New England last season, finishing with a 25-3 record.