PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Sixth-seeded Western Connecticut State University scored five unanswered points over the final two minutes of the game Tuesday evening, knocking third-seeded Plymouth State University out of the Little East Conference Men's Basketball Tournament with a 58-56 triumph at Foley Gymnasium.
The Panthers held the lead the first 39 minutes of the game, but never had more than a six-point margin and couldn't shake the Colonials. WestConn stayed in the game with solid rebounding and took advantage of some key shots. PSU had a final chance to tie or win the game in the final 10 seconds but a potential game-tying shot bounced off the rim.
WestConn, 14-11, moves on to the LEC semifinals Friday at top-seeded Rhode Island College, and will face second-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. PSU ends the season with a 12-14 overall record, a four-game improvement over last season.
Freshman Daquan Brooks (Bristol, Conn.) led all scorers with 15 points in the game for WestConn, while senior Dashon Jennings (Bridgeport, Conn.) added 13 points and freshman Leroy Mayers (Bronx, N.Y.) and senior Dewayne Dickens (Danbury, Conn.) chipped in with 10 points apiece.
Junior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) led the home team with 12 points, the only scorer to reach double figures. PSU struggled in the shooting department, connecting at just a 35 percent clip, as top scorers Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) and Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) combine to hit just 8-of-24 shots and score eight points apiece.
Both teams were a little sluggish in the first half, PSU shooting just 41 percent and WestConn 34 percent. The Colonials also turned the ball over 12 times but stayed in the game with a 26-14 rebounding advantage. The Panthers got the lead up to six points four times, including a 35-29 margin at the intermission.
PSU had the lead at six points again twice in the second half, the last time with 6:35 remaining, but WestConn hung around. It was a three-point margin with two minutes to play, but the home team didn't score again. The Colonials pulled even at 56-56 on a three-pointer by Brooks with 1:52 on the clock, and Jennings and Brooks each hit one of two free throws in the final minute to give WestConn the victory.
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