PLYMOUTH, N.H. - Senior Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) made 9-of-12 shots from the field and finished with a game-high 20 points Saturday afternoon as Plymouth State University outlasted Western Connecticut State University, 78-73, in a Little East Conference men's basketball contest at Foley Gymnasium.
Chergey scored 14 of his points in the opening 20 minutes as the Panthers maintained a double-digit lead most of the first half. PSU never relinquished the lead and held off a second-half Colonial rally to improve to 8-5 overall and 1-2 in Little East games. The Colonials had their eight-game winning streak snapped and fell to 9-2 overall and 2-1 in the LEC.
Chergey was one of four Panthers to score in double figures, as senior Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) finished with 14 points, classmate Eric Hondal (Miami, Fla.) added 12, and junior Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, N.H.) chipped in with 10.
Sophomore Leroy Mayers (Bronx, N.Y.) led the visitors with 14 points, converting 5-of-8 from the field. Sophomore DeQuan Brooks (Bristol, Conn.) was good for 13 points and junior Tyshawn Gillespie (Hartford, Conn.) added 12. Sophomore Gary Robinson (Torrington, Conn.) scored six points and collected a game-high 10 rebounds.
Leading by 12 at halftime, PSU kept the visitors at bay most of the second half. WestConn got the margin down to seven points (54-47) with 10 minutes to play, but the hosts got it back to 13 points (63-50) with six minutes remaining. The Colonials refused to go away, and whittled the deficit down with a 10-2 burst, making it 65-60 with four minutes to play.
PSU appeared in control, leading by nine points (71-62) with 2:30 remaining, but WestConn kept battling and pulled to within three points (74-71) with less than 30 seconds on the clock. Hondal and Lambert each sank two free throws in the final seconds to give PSU the win.
The Panthers shot 52 percent from the field in the game while holding WestConn to a 45 percent clip. The Colonials won the battle of the boards, 36-28.
Both teams will be back in action Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. with LEC road games, PSU traveling to UMass Boston and WestConn visiting Keene State.
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