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PSC completes season sweep over E.Conn.

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.) scored 20 points and grabbed a season-high 19 rebounds Saturday at Foley Gymnasium, leading Plymouth State College's men's basketball team to a 79-67 Little East Conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University.

The victory gives PSC a season sweep over the Warriors, improving the Panthers to 11-7 overall and 5-4 in the conference. ECSU drops to 10-9 and 6-3.

The Panthers outscored Eastern 19-6 over an eight-minute span in the first half, turning a six-point deficit into a seven-point lead (31-24). PSC held a five-point advantage (37-32) at the break. There were six lead changes in the opening eight minutes of the second half before PSC took the lead for good (50-49) with 11:54 to play. The Panthers extended their lead to eight points (64-56) with seven minutes remaining, and to nine points (69-60) with 4:33 on the clock, before holding on for the victory.

Blackburn collected 16 of his 19 boards off the defensive glass as he helped the Panthers to a 59-38 rebounding advantage. It was two short of his career high of 21 rebounds. PSC also got 16 points and nine rebounds from junior Donnelle Combs (Mitchellville, Md.), 14 points and six rebounds from sophomore Frankie Finklea (Dorchester, Mass.) and 12 points from junior Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.).

The Warriors used a combined offensive attack, with sophomore Gordon Shepard (Waterbury, Conn.) leading his team with 16 points. Senior Billy Rea (Winsted, Conn.) finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds, senior Rich Vega (Hartford, Conn.) added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and senior Jason Leydon (Milford, Conn.) chipped in with 10. Vega remains 18 points shy of ECSU's career scoring record.

The Panthers conclude their four-game homestand Thursday at Foley Gymnasium with a non-conference contest against Rivier College (7:30 p.m.).