PLYMOUTH, N.H. - The Plymouth State University men's basketball team used strong defense and a balanced offensive attack Tuesday evening to defeat the University of Southern Maine, 71-57, in Little East Conference action at Foley Gymnasium.
PSU held Southern Maine to less than 35 percent in the shooting department, and limited its opponent to less than 60 points for the sixth time this season. The Panthers also finished with a 49-29 advantage on the boards. The Panthers improve to 14-8 overall and 6-5 in the Little East while the Huskies slide to 2-20 overall and 0-11 in conference games. PSU's 14 wins represent the most in a season since the 2005-06 Panthers finished 16-11.
Junior Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton) led the winning team with 14 points and five assists, while seniors Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) and Jason O'Keefe (Everett, Mass.) contributed 12 points apiece. Junior Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, N.H.) added eight points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Juniors Otis Smith (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) and Luke Pollock (Eliot, Maine) shared team-high scoring honors for USM with 15 points apiece, and classmate John Sewall (Bath, Maine) chipped in with eight points. Smith converted three three-point shots while Pollock was 8-of-9 from the free throw line.
Plymouth State led most of the first half, but the upset-minded Huskies hung tough and stayed in the game, coming back from an early 11-4 deficit to take a 16-15 lead with seven minutes to play. It was tied at 18-apiece with six minutes to go before PSU finished the half with an 11-4 burst to take a seven -point margin to the locker room, 29-22.
The Panthers opened the second half with an 11-7 run to open up an 11-point bulge, and the Huskies didn't get the margin back to single digits the rest of the way.
PSU will be home on Saturday for an LEC clash against UMass Boston for the Senior Day contest at Foley Gymnasium. The start time for that game has been moved back to 4:30 p.m. Southern Maine returns home to host Rhode Island College at 3:00 p.m.
-- 30 --