Panthers to visit Nichols in first round
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – The Plymouth State University men's basketball team will make its first post-season appearance in four years this week after receiving a bid to the 2014 Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III New England Tournament.
The Panthers, 13-13 overall, earned the eighth seed in this year's tournament and will visit top--seeded Nichols College, 22-6, for a first-round game this Wednesday, Mar. 5, at 5:00 p.m. at the Nichols Athletic Center in Dudley, Mass. PSU earns a trip to the post-season for the first time under third-year head coach Andrew Novick, making the ECAC Tournament for the 12th time since 1989.
The other first-round games Wednesday include second-seeded Johnson & Wales University (20-7) hosting seventh-seeded Elms College (15-12); third-seeded Castleton State College (19-8) entertaining sixth-seeded Endicott College (17-9); and fourth-seeded Salve Regina University (17-10) hosting fifth-seeded Lasell College (16-11).
Wednesday's quarterfinal winners will advance to Saturday's semifinal round, with the highest remaining seed hosting both semifinal games as well as Sunday's championship contest. Third-seeded Eastern Connecticut State University upset top-seeded Westfield State University, 74-60, to capture last year's championship.
Plymouth State earned its ECAC berth after improving its regular season record by six games over last year (7-18). The Panthers placed fifth in the Little East Conference with a 7-7 mark, and lost a one-point heartbreaker, 61-60, at Western Connecticut State University in the first round of the LEC Tournament.
Nichols has won a program-record 22 games this season and advanced to the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) championship game for the first time in school history. They also won a conference-record 16 games this season, led by senior captain and CCC Player of the Year Ryan Sheehan (North Attleboro, Mass.), who became the program's all-time leading scorer last week.
PSU is making its 12th appearance in the ECAC Tournament, looking for its first championship. The previous showings came in 1989, 1991, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2010. The Panthers advanced to the ECAC championship game in 1994, 1999 and 2002. Plymouth State also participated in the NCAA Tournament in 1996 and 2004.
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