Keene State holds off PSU Men’s Basketball

Lambert pours in 32 to lead Panthers

              PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The trio of junior Derek D’Amours (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and sophomores Rashad Wright (Agawam, Mass.) and Ryan Martin (Wayne, Maine) combined to score 56 points Tuesday evening as Keene State College held off rival Plymouth State University, 93-87, in a Little East Conference men’s basketball contest at Foley Gymnasium.

              The Owls led nearly the entire game but couldn’t put the upset-minded Panthers away.  KSC led by as many as 17 points in the second half before the Panthers rallied to pull to within four with a minute and a half to play.  Keene State’s struggles from the free throw line gave PSU a chance in the closing minute, but the clock ran out on the Panther comeback.

              D’Amours finished with a team-high 20 points, making three buckets from three-point range, while Wright and Martin added 18 points apiece.  Wright also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds and blocked five shots while Martin added five assists and two steals.  They helped the Owls improve to 16-8 overall and 8-5 in the Little East.

              The outcome spoiled a terrific offensive performance from PSU senior Ryan Lambert (Derry, N.H./Pinkerton), who finished with a game-high 32 points on 10-of-17 shooting.  It was his second 30-point effort of the season, and two points shy of his career-high, set in December at Eastern Connecticut.  Senior Matt Feehan (Nashua, N.H.) chipped in with 14 points and classmate Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, N.H.) added 13 as the Panthers dropped to 11-12 overall and 5-8 in conference play.

              It was a close game most of the first half until Keene State scored eight unanswered points late to turn a four-point lead into a 12-point bulge, and the visitors too k a 10-point margin into the locker room, 45-35.  D’Amours scored 13 of his 20 points in the opening frame, including a basket that capped the eight-point run.

              The Owls maintained a double-digit advantage the first 15 minutes of the second half leading by as many as 17 points (76-59 with seven minutes to play and 82-65 with 5:36 on the clock).  PSU would not go quietly, and rallied with a 15-2 outburst over the next four minutes, pulling to within four points, 84-80, with 1:31 to play.  Lambert scored nine points in the stretch and Feehan drained a pair of three-pointers.  But Keene State answered with a free throw by Amours and 4-of-6 free throws from Martin to get the lead back up to nine points, and the visitors held on down the stretch.

              Keene State shot 64 percent from the field in the second half and nearly 60 percent for the game, while PSU was limited to a 46 percent shooting clip.  KSC shot just 56 percent from the free throw line (18-of-32) while PSU converted at 85 percent (11-of-13) from the charity stripe.

              Both teams wrap up the regular season with conference games on Saturday, Keene State traveling to UMass Dartmouth and PSU hosting Rhode Island College on Senior Day at Foley Gymnasium. 

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