PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, Mass.) hit a spinning jumper with 12 seconds remaining Saturday afternoon at Foley Gymnasium, breaking a 63-all tie and sending the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth to a 67-63 victory over Plymouth State University in the Little East Conference men's basketball opener for both schools.
The Panthers had a last opportunity to tie the score but their game-tying attempt was blocked and Shelton added a pair of free throws with two seconds remaining to seal the win. UMD, the defending LEC Tournament champion and pre-season favorite, improves to 5-1 overall, while upset-minded PSU had its two-game winning streak stopped and fell to 4-2.
UMass Dartmouth went on a 14-2 spurt midway through the first half to take its largest lead of the day, 21-10, midway through the stanza. PSU answered with a 15-3 run to regain the lead, 25-24, with five minutes on the clock. UMD came back and took a 32-29 advantage into the locker room.
The game remained close throughout the second half, with six lead changes and neither team leading by more than four points. PSU had a one-point margin (48-47) at the midway point, and held its largest advantage (53-47) with eight minutes to go, but UMD battled back and regained the lead, 59-57, with three minutes remaining.
Senior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) drained a three-pointer from the corner for PSU to knot the game at 63-apiece with 39 seconds to play, but UMD took the lead for good on Shelton's jumper with 12 seconds remaining.
Chergey led all scorers with 20 points on 9-of-17 shooting for PSU, while junior Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) contributed 18 points, a team-high eight rebounds and five assists but struggled with nine turnovers.
Senior Matt Walker (Brockton, Mass.) paced the visitors with 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while junior Brandon Stephens (Dorchester, Mass.) contributed 13 points and Shelton chipped in with 10.
Plymouth State continues its six-game home stand Tuesday with a non-conference tilt against Tufts University (7:00 p.m.). UMD is also back on the court Tuesday with a non-conference match-up at Worcester State (7:00 p.m.)
-- 30 --