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PSU Men’s Basketball powers past Southern Maine

(Game Box

              PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) matched his career high with 27 points Tuesday evening, leading Plymouth State University to a 71-47 victory over the University of Southern Maine in Little East Conference men's basketball action at Foley Gymnasium.

              The Panthers extended their winning streak to three games, evening their season record at 12-12 overall. PSU also locked up third place in the LEC regular season with an 8-5 mark, clinching home-court advantage in the first round of next week's conference tournament.  USM dropped its eighth in a row and fell to 4-20 overall and 1-12 in conference play.

              Huntington made 8-of-12 shots from the floor and 5-of-7 from three-point range. The LEC's leading free throw shooter (93.1 percent) also converted all six attempts from the stripe, increasing his consecutive made free throw streak to 36.  Huntington is also just seven points shy of becoming the 22nd player in the program's history to score 1,000 points.

              Junior Bryan Tracy (Manchester, N.H./Central) also scored in double figures for the Panthers with 11 points, thanks to three three-point buckets.  Classmate Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) chipped in with a team-high eight rebounds.

              Three players reached double digits in scoring for USM - freshman Sean Bergeron (Kennebunk, Maine) with 11 points and junior Greg Whitaker (Presque Isle, Maine) and sophomore Otis Smith (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) with 10 apiece.

              PSU took control of the game midway through the opening half, going on a 12-2 run to take its first double-digit lead (18-8).  USM scored six straight to get back to within four points, but the home team outscored the visitors 15-6 over the last six minutes of the half to take a 33-20 advantage to the locker room.

              The Panthers opened the second half with a 12-4 spurt to get the lead up over 20 points before coasting home the rest of the way.  PSU shot 49 percent from the field for the night while holding the Huskies to a 28 percent shooting clip.  Plymouth State was 10-of-19 from three-point range while USM was 1-of-13 from beyond the arc.

              The teams wrap up the regular season at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, PSU hosting UMass Dartmouth on Senior Day at Foley Gymnasium and Southern Maine entertaining Western Connecticut. 

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