Preston, Osgood lead Panthers in LEC loss
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Jack Preston (Nashua, N.H.) scored a game-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting, but it wasn't quite enough as the University of Southern Maine slipped past Plymouth State University, 74-70, in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium.
Four Huskies finished in double-figures, with seniors Zach Leal (York, Maine) and James Starks III (Miami, Fla.) both dropping 19 points. Junior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine) and senior Fred Knight (Hampden, Maine) added 13 and 10 points respectively.
Sophomore Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Panthers, who dropped a game behind UMass Boston for fourth place in the LEC standings. The top four teams will host a first-round playoff game next week.
PSU took a 39-33 lead early in the second half, the Panthers' largest of the game, but USM used a 9-0 run to pull in front 42-39 with 16:07 left to play. The Huskies would not relinquish the lead, though Plymouth State would keep within striking distance right down to the final buzzer.
PSU trailed by four, 69-65, after a pair of Osgood free throws with 1:24 remaining, but McCue drained a huge three-pointer at the other end just as the shot clock expired. Senior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) completed an old-fashioned three-point play to cut the Huskies' lead to 72-70 with 30 seconds to go but McCue sank two free throws to wrap up the victory.
Foley Gymnasium, Plymouth, N.H. – Thurs., Feb. 16, 2017
Plymouth State 70, Southern Maine 74
Plymouth State 11-12 (5-8 LEC); Southern Maine 9-15 (4-9 LEC)
* Preston … game-high 22 points (9-of-12), 10 rebounds
* Osgood … 16 points, nine rebounds
* Senior Nick MacGregor (Rochester, N.H.) … nine points (three-of-five 3PT), three rebounds, two steals
* Freshman Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H.) … nine points, three rebounds
* Arsenault … seven points, three rebounds, two assists
* Leal … 19 points, five rebounds, four assists
* Starks III … 19 points, five rebounds, two steals
* McCue … 13 points, five rebounds, two assists
* Knight … 10 points, six rebounds
BY THE NUMBERS
* Plymouth State out-rebounded the Huskies 40-35 and owned a 36-20 advantage on points in the paint.
* The Huskies sank 25-of-57 (43.9%), including seven three-pointers, while PSU finished 26-of-66 (39.4%) with five long balls.
HOW IT HAPPENED
* The Huskies jumped out to a 7-2 lead, with Leal scoring the team's first six points.
* Three pointers from Leal and McCue pushed the USM lead to 13-4 after five minutes.
* PSU used an 11-2 run to tie the score at 15-15 less than two minutes later.
* With the score tied at 19-19, MacGregor drained back-to-back triples to put the Panthers in front 25-19 with just under nine minutes to play in the half.
* A layup from Knight cut the Panther lead to 32-30 with just over a minute to play in the half but PSU maintained the lead.
* Senior Nathan Clarke (Reading, Mass.) got to the rim just before the buzzer sounded to give PSU a 37-33 lead at the break.
* Starks III hit a jumper and a pair from the charity stripe to cut the PSU lead to 39-37 and moments later senior Jalen Lincoln (Nobleboro, Maine) sank a deep three to put USM in the lead.
* The Huskies extended the margin to six, 49-43, after a triple from McCue.
* Osgood scored six straight points for the Panthers, and MacGregor connected from beyond the arc for the third time to cut the USM lead to 54-52 at the midpoint of the second half.
* Southern Maine pushed the lead back to nine with three free throws to lead 65-56 with 5:31 to play.
* Preston scored five straight points to cut the margin to 65-61 with 2:27 to play.
* The Huskies maintained a four point advantage until McCue drained a huge triple just before the shot clock expired to make it 72-65 with just under a minute to go.
* PSU fought back and an Osgood layup and a three-point play from Arsenault cut the deficit to 72-70 with 30 seconds remaining.
* USM closed out the win with two free throws from McCue to sweep the season series.
* PSU will be celebrating Senior Day on Saturday with a 3:00 p.m. game against LEC-foe Western Connecticut.
* Southern Maine closes the regular season with a home conference game against UMass Dartmouth (3:00 p.m.).
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