PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Plymouth State University used a balanced scoring attack and its usual stifling defense Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium to knock off Western Connecticut State University, 96-83, in the Little East Conference men's basketball regular season finale for both schools.
The Panthers, who wrap up the regular season winners of six in a row and eighth of their last nine, improve to 21-4 overall and finish runner-up in the LEC with an 11-3 mark. The Colonials, two-time defending LEC champions, conclude the regular season at 15-10 overall and tied for third in the conference at 8-6.
Both teams will be at home on Tuesday for the opening round of the LEC Tournament. Second-seeded PSU will host seventh-seeded Southern Maine at 7:00 p.m. Western Connecticut and Eastern Connecticut tied for third place, and a coin toss will be held on Sunday to determine which team will be the No. 3 seed and host sixth-seeded UMass Dartmouth, and which will be the fourth seed and host fifth-seeded Rhode Island College.
PSU had four players score at least 15 points on Saturday, with two Panthers putting up double-doubles. Junior Anthony Oglesby (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished with 23 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and four steals, his third straight double-double and fourth in the last five outings. Senior Mike Loughlin (Manchester, N.H.) matched his season-high with 22 points, hitting four baskets from three-point range. Senior Ryan Chicoine (Gorham, Maine) hit 7-of-9 shots to finish with 15 points, 10 boards and three blocked shots, and freshman Andreas Pope (Brooklyn, N.Y.) chipped in with 19 points and nine boards off the bench, including two thunderous dunks.
Freshman Jay Reginatto (Torrington, Conn.) led the visitors with 23 points, while sophomore Greg Cole (Queens, N.Y.) and junior Brice Assie (Bridgeport, Conn.) provided 19 and 17 points off the bench, respectively. Junior Kimani Crawford (West Hartford, Conn.) also scored 14 points for Western.
It was a 14-14 game midway through the first half before PSU went on a 16-3 spurt to take a 30-17 lead with 7:25 to go. The Panthers maintained a double-digit lead the next seven minutes before heading to the locker room with a 44-35 advantage.
PSU never trailed in the second half. Western got the deficit down to six points (44-38) early in the half before the Panthers built it back up to an 18-point lead (72-54) with 8:42 to play. Western got as close as seven points, but PSU tightened up the defense and held off the Colonials.
Plymouth State shot over 50 percent from the floor (37-73) and outrebounded its opponent, 50-44. PSU, which ranks fourth in the nation in field goal percentage defense (37.5), held Western to a 36.5 shooting clip.
Plymouth State's 21 victories so far match the second-most in a season in school history. The 1998-99 team finished 22-8, and the 2002-03 squad ended up at 21-8.
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