PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Starting guards Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) and Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H./Pinkerton) combined to score 41 points Tuesday evening as Plymouth State University defeated the University of Massachusetts Boston, 66-53, in Little East Conference men's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.
O'Keefe scored a game-high 23 points, including four three-point baskets, while Huntington tallied 18 points, including three buckets from long range. They were the only two Panthers to reach double figures in scoring. The win pushed PSU's record to 6-8 overall and 3-1 in the all-important conference ledger.
Junior Ernst Jean (Malden, Mass.) led the visitors with 12 points, while classmate Aaron Jones (Boston, Mass./Catholic Memorial) added 11 points off the bench. The Beacons shot just 38.6 percent from the field and turned the ball over 19 times. UMD dropped its eighth straight contest and dipped to 2-11 overall and 0-4 in the LEC.
It was a back-and-forth game for the first 15 minutes, with neither team leading by more than five points. PSU pulled ahead by 10 points, 34-24, but the Beacons responded with the last six points of the half to cut the deficit to four, 34-30, at the break. O'Keefe had 12 of his 23 points in the opening stanza.
Plymouth State maintained the advantage the entire second half, but UMB hung tough. The Panthers led by just one point with 14 minutes to play, 40-39, and held a three-point bulge, 49-46, with seven minutes remaining. The Beacons were still within six, 54-48, with five minutes left when PSU scored eight unanswered points to take its largest lead, 62-48, with less than two minutes on the clock, sealing the win for the home team.
PSU is now tied for second in the LEC with Rhode Island College and Keene State, all at 3-1 in conference play, a game behind UMass Dartmouth (4-0).
The Panthers are back in action on Saturday with a visit to league-leading UMD (3:00 p.m.). The Beacons return home to host Bridgewater State in a non-conference match-up on Thursday (7:30 p.m.)
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