GORHAM, Maine - Junior guard Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) scored 16 points to lead three players in double-figures Tuesday evening as the Plymouth State University Panthers broke open a closely contest game late in the second half to defeat the University of Southern Maine Huskies 64-56 in Little East Conference men's basketball action at Hill Gymnasium.
The Panthers have see-sawed wins and losses the last eight games and are now 8-10 overall and 5-3 in the Little East. The Huskies fall to 4-14 and 1-7 in conference.
O'Keefe was 4-for-14 from the field, but knocked down a trio of three pointers to lead the Panthers. Senior guard Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) added 14 points and four assists and sophomore forward Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, N.H.) chipped in with 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Sophomore guard John Sewall (Woolwich, Maine) led all scorers with a career-best 22 points for the Huskies. Sewall was a 10-for-20 from the field. Junior Greg Whitaker (Presque Isle, Maine) finished with 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds, and sophomore Otis Smith (Altamonte, Fla.) added nine points.
In a game with 11 ties and 10 lead changes, the Panthers gained the upper-hand late in the second half with a game-winning surge. With score tied at 46-all with 8:29 to play, PSU strung together a 7-0 run to take control with 6:05 to play. Huntington scored five of the Panthers points in the run including a surge-capping three. Southern Maine pulled to within two in its next two possessions, but the Panthers responded with a three-point play from Huntington and two free throws from Feehan to regain a seven-point, 58-51, lead with 2:52 to play.
USM again challenged the Panthers, pulling to within four on a three-pointer from sophomore Luke Pollock (Eliot, Maine), but Huntington responded with a three of his own for a 61-54 PSU edge with 1:32 remaining and the visitors held on for the win.
Southern Maine hosts LEC foe UMass Dartmouth and Plymouth State travels to Western Connecticut, both games on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
(Courtesy of Southern Maine Sports Information)
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