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February 12, 2008

Plymouth State Men’s Basketball upsets Keene State

            PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sophomore Bryan Tracy (Manchester, N.H./Central) drained two clutch free throws with four-tenths of a second on the clock Tuesday evening, giving Plymouth State University a thrilling 81-80 upset victory over Keene State College in Little East Conference men's basketball action before a packed crowd at Foley Gymnasium.

            The outcome capped off a dramatic finish to an exciting contest.  There were seven lead changes in the last 10 minutes of the game, and both teams hit key baskets in the final two minutes.  PSU earned a split of the season series with Keene State, improving to 6-16 overall and 2-9 in LEC play, while the Owls, who had upset previously unbeaten UMass Dartmouth on Saturday, fell to 13-9 and 6-5.

            Plymouth State had five players score in double figures.  Sophomore Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) led the way with 18 points, freshman Matt Feehan (Nashua, N.H.) added 16, sophomore Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) finished with 13, and Tracy and senior Chris Wilkinson (Newmarket, N.H.) chipped in with 12  points apiece.

            Junior Tyler Kathan (Ludlow, Vt.) led a group of four Owls who scored in double digits, finishing with a game-high 20 points.  Senior Anthony Licitra (Glastonbury, Conn.) hit 7-of-8 shots to end up with 17 points, while junior Nate Anderson (Westminster, Mass.) added 15 and senior Nick Drouin (Weare, N.H.) contributed 14 points.

            Keene State went up by 12 points (21-9) midway through the first half, but the home team, boosted by a raucous Spirit Night crowd, battled back.  PSU went on a 15-3 run late in the half to take a one-point lead, and followed that with a 10-2 burst to take a 42-35 advantage at halftime.  O'Keefe had 12 points for PSU in the first half, nine coming on three-point baskets.

            Plymouth State had its largest lead of the game, 53-43, with 16:10 on the second-half clock, but the Owls would not go quietly, battling back to tie the game at 55-all with 11 minutes and change to play. The teams traded baskets, and the lead, over the next 10 minutes, and it was tied again, at 76-76, with 1:43 remaining.

            Licitra hit a key bucket to put the Owls ahead with 1:25 on the clock, but Feehan answered with a three-point hoop for PSU with 50 seconds to play.  Kathan hit a basket for Keene State with 23 seconds to play, but PSU had one last chance.  Huntington got a shot off from the corner in the final seconds, and Tracy grabbed the rebound and was fouled with less than a second remaining.  Tracy calmly sank the tying and winning free throws, setting off pandemonium in the gym.

            Both teams shot the ball extremely well.  PSU converted 50 percent from the field (30-of-59) and from three-point range (11-of-22), while KSC drained 60 percent from the floor (31-of-51) and 47 percent from beyond the arc.  The difference was at the line, where PSU was 10-of-13 and KSC 11-of-19.

            Both teams are in action again on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.  PSU hosts UMass Boston on Senior Day at Foley Gymnasium, while Keene State returns home to host Western Connecticut.

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