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Panthers edge RIC

PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior guard Mike Loughlin (Manchester, N.H./West) came off the bench to score a team-high 23 points Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium, leading the Plymouth State College men's basketball team to a 78-75 Little East Conference victory over Rhode Island College in the regular season finale for both schools.

Loughlin hit two of his four three-pointers in the final minute of the first half to give PSC a 48-42 halftime lead, but it was his four straight free throws in the final 30 seconds of the game that sealed the victory for the Panthers.

Plymouth State, 19-6 overall, wraps up the regular season tied with Keene State for second place in the LEC, both with 10-4 conference records. RIC, 13-12 overall, ends up in a tie for fifth with UMass Boston and Eastern Connecticut, all at 5-9.

The Panthers will be the second seed in the upcoming LEC Tournament, and will host seventh-seeded RIC Tuesday at Foley Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. Admission for all LEC Tournament games at PSC is free.

PSC had the advantage most of the first half, leading by as much as 12 on four occasions. The visitors went on a 23-11 run to tie the score at 42-42 with a minute to play before Loughlin connected from outside twice to give the Panthers the six-point bulge at the break.

There were six ties and six lead changes in the second half, with RIC holding the biggest advantage at seven points (61-54) with 13 minutes remaining. It was tied at 73-73 with a minute to play, but PSC went 5-for-6 from the line in the final 45 seconds and RIC could only manage a layup as time expired.

Sophomore Anthony Oglesby (Brooklyn, N.Y.) contributed 13 points and 13 rebounds for PSC, joining Loughlin as the only two Panthers to score in double figures.

RIC, on the other hand, had five players score at least 10 points. Junior Kamran Alemdar (Stockholm, Sweden) led the way with a game-high 25 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Brian Stanko (Swansea, Mass.) hit 6-of-7 field goal tries and finished with 15 points. Juniors Lester Carter (Boston, Mass.) and Andre Daley (Boston, Mass.) and sophomore Jason Harris (Bedford, Mass.) added 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Plymouth State's starting line-up included the five seniors playing in the final regular season home game of their careers -- Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.), Dan Craig (Chelmsford, Mass.), Jeff Mullin (Derry, N.H.), Mike Kalbfell (Somers, N.Y.) and Donnelle Combs (Mitchellville, Md.).