Lambert leads Panthers with 26 on Senior Day
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Nick Manson scored 22 points to lead a group of four players who scored in double figures Saturday afternoon as Rhode Island College downed Plymouth State University, 97-67, in a Little East Conference men's basketball game and the regular season finale for both schools at Foley Gymnasium.
The Anchormen, 17-7 overall, clinch a share of the LEC regular season title, sharing the top spot with Western Connecticut State University, both teams recording 11-3 conference records. It is the third straight regular season crown for RIC. The Anchormen will be the top seed in next week's LEC Tournament based on the conference tiebreaker system, and after a first-round bye on Tuesday, will host the semifinals and championship games next Friday and Saturday at The Murray Center.
Plymouth State winds up the regular season with an 11-13 overall record and a 5-9 LEC mark. The Panthers will be the sixth seed in next week's conference tournament and will travel to third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday for a first-round match-up at 7:30 p.m.
Manson was red-hot from the outside for the Anchormen, draining 6-of-10 shots from three-point range and 7-of-13 overall. Junior Mason Choice converted 6-of-7 from the field to finish with 17 points, while junior Mike Akinrola added 13 points and senior Antone Gray contributed 10 points and seven assists.
The Panthers got a game-high 26 points from senior Ryan Lambert, who made 9-of-18 from the field. Senior Tom Dowd added 12 points and classmate Ian Dempsey chipped in with 10. Lambert, Dowd, Dempsey along with Matt Feehan, Bill Stowell and team manager Billy Dapkus were recognized during pre-game Senior Day festivities.
Plymouth State jumped out of the game and took an early nine-point advantage (16-7). RIC responded with 10 straight points to take the lead, thanks to eight points from senior Carl Lee, and then scored nine unanswered points to open up an 11-point margin, 31-20. Choice hit a late three-pointer to send the Anchormen to the locker room with a 15-point margin.
RIC maintained a double-digit advantage in the second half, pulling away to a 20-point bulge with 12:30 to play, and PSU got no closer than 16 the rest of the way.
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