NORTON, Mass. - Senior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) and junior Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H.) combined for 41 points Friday evening as Plymouth State University defeated Salve Regina University, 96-86, in the first round of the 14th annual Wheaton College Tip-Off Tournament in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Panthers advance to Saturday's 3:30 p.m. championship against
host Wheaton, a 97-84 winner over Lyndon State College in the
second contest of the night. Wheaton, which is seeking to win its
own tournament for the seventh time, downed the Panthers, 95-88 in
the 2007 title game. The consolation contest between Lyndon State
and Salve Regina will begin at 1:30 p.m.
Chergey made 10-of-14 shots for a game-high 21 points to lead five double-figure scorers, while Lambert finished with 20 points, going 8-of-8 on free throws. Seniors Eric Hondal (Miami, Fla.) and Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) chipped in with 15 and 14 points, respectively, with Hondal adding seven assists and four steals and hitting all eight freebie tries, while classmate Bryan Tracy (Manchester, N.H./Central) was 5-of-6 for 11 points.
Juniors Ryan Birrell (Hope, R.I.) and Dan Royce (Mahwah, N.J.) paced Salve with 18 points each, as Royce went 8-of-12 with seven rebounds and Birell shot 7-of-14. Graduate student Jabreche Boyd (West Haven, Conn.) and freshman Trey Scales (Boston, Mass,) recorded 13 points each, while sophomore Andrew Knight (Danvers, Mass.) added 10 points and six assists.
The game had strong offensive starts by each team, as both the Panthers and Seahawks went 17-of-29 in the opening half for 58.6 percent. Five ties and four lead changes highlighted the opening stanza, including Plymouth State's O'Keefe draining his second trey with five seconds left to force a 42-all tie at the break. The Panthers converted 6-of-12 from three-point territory in the half, while the Seahawks were 5-of-8 from deep. Plymouth State had assists on 14 of its 17 baskets.
The Panthers slowly built upon a 61-57 advantage with a little more than 13 minutes remaining, forging a 76-60 lead on an O'Keefe jumper with 7:46 left. Plymouth State continued to lead by double figures until the final minute, when Salve Regina made it an eight-point contest on a pair of occasions.
(Courtesy of Wheaton Sports Information)
-- 30 --