PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Junior Edwin Ortiz (Hartford, Conn.) scored 19 of his team-high 22 points in the second half Saturday afternoon as Eastern Connecticut State University defeated Plymouth State University, 74-66, in a Little East Conference men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium.
The Warriors took a double-digit lead midway through the first half and never trailed the rest of the way. PSU's comeback attempt came up short as the Panthers made just 3-of-20 attempts from three-point range. Eastern stopped a three-game losing streak and improved to 8-9 overall and 3-4 in conference play, while PSU missed a chance to win consecutive games for the first time this season and dropped to 7-10 overall and 4-3 in the Little East.
Ortiz finished 8-of-12 from the field and 4-of-5 from beyond the three-point arc. Sophomore Courtney Simmons (Middletown, Conn.) added 15 points to the Warrior victory and classmate Bill Roveto (South Windsor, Conn.) chipped in with 10 points.
Junior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) led all scorers with 24 points for PSU after making 9-of-13 shots from the field. Classmate Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) added 15 points, despite going 0-for-5 from three-point range, and junior Bryan Tracy (Manchester, N.H./Central) contributed 12 points. O'Keefe also collected a game-high nine rebounds and Chergey grabbed seven as PSU won the battle on the boards by a 35-29 count.
Eastern took its first double-digit lead eight minutes into the contest, maintained the advantage the rest of the half and took a 13-point margin (32-19) into the break. A 6-2 surge to open the second half gave the Warriors their largest lead of the afternoon, 38-21, and PSU could get no closer than 10 points until there were just two minutes left in the game.
ECSU shot 49 percent for the game while PSU converted just 42 percent, including 30 percent in the first half.
Both teams return to the court with LEC road games on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Plymouth State facing Southern Maine and Eastern Conn. visiting Keene State.
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