GORHAM, Maine - Sophomore forward Jason Levecque's (Westbrook, Maine) three-point shot to tie the game hit the rim and bounced away allowing the visiting Plymouth State College Panthers to escape with an 80-77 triumph over the upset-minded University of Southern Maine Huskies in Little East Conference men's basketball action Tuesday night at Hill Gym.
Plymouth State improved to 16-5 overall and 8-3 in the conference, while Southern Maine slipped to 2-18 and 1-10.
The game witnessed four lead changes over the final 2:11. The final time occurred with 31 seconds remaining, when senior guard Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.) drove the lane to put the Panthers in front for good at 78-77.
The Huskies turned the ball over with six seconds remaining on their ensuing possession, and were forced to foul. Sophomore guard Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) drained both free throws, providing the Panthers with an 80-77 advantage and setting the stage for Levecque's last-second three-pointer.
Trailing throughout much of the second half, the Huskies tied the game at 71-71 on a three-pointer by Levecque with 3:11 to play. Levecque later gave the Huskies a brief lead at 75-74 when he sank another three-pointer with 2:11 remaining.
Plymouth State regained the lead at 76-75 on a driving lay up by Stewart, before Southern Maine took its final lead of the game at 77-76, when sophomore Derek Lovely (Oxford, Maine) made a twisting lay up with 42 seconds remaining.
The Panthers held a 39-27 advantage on the boards, but the Huskies connected on 26-55 (.473) field goals, including 15-27 (.556) in the second half, and held Plymouth State to 25-61 (.410) shooting from the floor.
Plymouth State was paced by Pelotte, who tallied a game-high 24 points, while Stewart contributed 14 points and sophomore forward Anthony Oglesby (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 11 points.
Levecque and sophomore guard Mike Francoeur (Somersworth, N.H.) tallied 18 points apiece, while Lovely added 12 and senior guard Ryan Saucier (Caribou, Maine) scored 10 points.
Plymouth State returns to action Saturday when it travels to UMass Boston, while Southern Maine entertains Salem State College on Thursday night.
(Courtesy Southern Maine Sports Information)