PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Senior Japhet Kerr (Mt. Kisco, N.Y.) became just the eighth player in school history to score 1,000 career points as his 31 points Saturday afternoon led the Johnson & Wales University men's basketball team to an 89-81 victory over Plymouth State University in a non-conference contest at the Harborside Recreation Center. Kerr added eight assists and four rebounds for JWU.
Senior Tirone McCray (Brockton, Mass.) added 23 points and added 10 rebounds for the Wildcats while fellow senior Greg Samuels (Philadelphia, Pa.) also recorded a double-double with 19 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Leading the way for Plymouth State was junior Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) who tallied a career-high 27 points while sophomore Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) added 18 points off the bench in the setback. Sophomore Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) was also in double figures with 14 points for the Panthers.
Johnson & Wales jumped out to an early lead, going ahead 16-7 on a jumper by sophomore Darren Faust (Queens, N.Y.) with 14:25 left in the half. The Wildcats held a 23-16 advantage with 11:49 remaining before Plymouth State went on a 9-1 run, capped by a three point play by senior Phil Bourassa (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) to take the 25-24 lead with 8:15 on the clock. The two teams then traded baskets for the remainder of the half with the score tied 39-39 at halftime.
The Wildcats controlled the action during the early stages of the second half and took their first double digit lead on a three-pointer by Samuels, making the score 59-49 with 13:57 remaining. JWU led by as many as 13 before the visiting Panthers cut the lead to just two points when a three-pointer by Huntington made the score 70-68 with 7:28 on the clock. That would be as close as Plymouth State would get, however as Johnson & Wales took the 89-81 victory.
The game marked the end of the semester for both schools; JWU is now 4-3 while Plymouth State falls to 3-7. The Wildcats will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 5 when they host Norwich in a GNAC contest (3:00 p.m.). The Panthers are back on the court on Sunday, Jan. 6, at Bowdoin College (3:00 p.m.)
(Courtesy of Johnson & Wales Sports Information)
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