PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Frankie Finklea (Dorchester, Mass.) scored a game-high 22 points Saturday afternoon, leading the Plymouth State College men's basketball team to an 88-64 Little East Conference victory over Rhode Island College in the final regular season game of the year at Foley Gymnasium.
PSC, which has won four of its last five outings, completes the regular season at 15-9 overall and 8-6 in the conference. The Panthers finish in fourth place in the LEC, and will host fifth-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University this Tuesday (Feb. 19) at Foley Gym (7:30 p.m.) in the opening round of the 2002 LEC Tournament. RIC concludes a difficult season at 1-23 overall and 0-14 in conference play.
Plymouth State opened up a double-digit lead in the first six minutes of the game, and led by as much as 18 points in the first half (38-20) before settling for a 43-29 lead at the break. The Anchormen had the deficit under 10 points (53-44) with 14 minutes remaining, but PSC went on a 23-11 run over the next seven minutes and coasted home with the win. Finklea, who hit 8-of-15 from the field, was one of five Panthers to score in double figures. Senior Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.) registered 14 points and a game-high seven rebounds, junior Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.) and freshman Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) contributed 12 points apiece, and sophomore Mike Loughlin (Manchester, N.H.) chipped in with 10 points.
Freshman Jason Harris (Bedford, Mass.) led the Anchormen with 14 points, while classmate Kevin Payette (Woonsocket, R.I.) finished with 10 points.
PSC will be looking to defeat Eastern Connecticut for the third time this season in Tuesday's LEC play-off game. The Panthers knocked off the Warriors 94-72 in Willimantic, Conn, on Dec. 8th, and 79-67 in Plymouth on Jan. 26th. PSC also defeated ECSU in the opening round of last year's LEC Tournament, 94-90, in Plymouth.
The LEC Tournament semi-finals and final will be at Keene State College next Friday and Saturday (Feb. 22-23), with the champion receiving an automatic berth into the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.