BOSTON, Mass. - Senior guard Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) scored a game-high 24 points Saturday afternoon to lead the Plymouth State University men's basketball team over the University of Massachusetts Boston, 72-58, in a Little East Conference game at the Clark Athletic Center.
The Panthers, who had see-sawed wins and losses the past 12 games, won its second straight for the first time this season. PSU improves to 11-12 overall and takes over sole possession of third place in the LEC at 7-5, while the Beacons fall to 4-19 overall and 2-10 in LEC play.
The Plymouth State defense was stifling, holding UMB to just 31 percent shooting (18-of-58) from the floor, including 22.7 percent (5-of-22) in the second half.
Huntington was 6-of-11 from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the line, while junior Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) added 13 points for the winners. Sophomore Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H.) contributed 12 points and seven rebounds, while junior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) chipped in with 12 points.
Junior Ernst Jean (Malden, Mass.) led UMB with 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the floor, while sophomore Pat Joseph (Queens, N.Y.) just missed a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds. Senior A.J. Titus (Roxbury, Mass.) played in his school-record 111th career game and finished with six points, three rebounds, and three assists.
Lambert drained the second of two straight three-pointers as the Panthers raced out to a 16-6 lead in the first seven minutes of the first half, but the Beacons cut the margin to 18-12. Lambert and O'Keefe answered with back-to-back threes to increase the PSU advantage to 24-12. Neither team made a field goal in the final 4:10 of play as the Panthers took a 29-20 lead into halftime.
The Panthers led 31-20 early in the second half, but the Beacons went on a 12-2 run, capped by a baseline dunk from Jean, to pull to within 33-32. But that would be as close as the Beacons would get as the visitors responded with 12 unanswered points to take a 45-32 advantage. O'Keefe and Huntington keyed the run with six and five points, respectively.
PSU took a 61-43 lead for their largest margin of the afternoon with 5:26 showing, before UMB put together a 12-5 burst to cut the deficit to 66-55 with 1:11 remaining, but the home team would get no closer.
Both teams are back in action on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., PSU returning home to host Southern Maine and UMB visiting UMass Dartmouth.
(Courtesy of UMass Boston Sports Information)
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