Leroy pours in career-high 43 points as second half comeback falls short
PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Plymouth State University men's basketball team used a 22-10 run to cut a 17-point second half deficit down to just five points in the game's final minutes, but Rhode Island College was able to hold on for an 85-76 win in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at The Murray Center on Saturday afternoon.
Sophomore Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H.) set a new career-high pouring in 43 points, including 20 in a 3:45 span, but the Anchormen were solid from the free throw line to clinch the victory.
Rhode Island College appeared to have the game well in hand, leading 69-52 with just 5:38 to play when Leroy took matters into his own hands. The 6-2 guard scored 20 straight points for the Panthers, including a clutch four-point play, and his two free throws cut the deficit to six points, 78-72, with 1:46 to play.
After an Anchormen free throw, junior Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) collected an offensive rebound and made the put-back to cut the margin to 79-74 with 1:22 remaining. The Panthers forced a turnover on the defensive side, but gave the ball back on the ensuing possession and with 1:11 to play sophomore CJ Donaldson (Bridgeport, Conn.) sank two free throws to push the lead back to seven points, 81-74.
PSU missed a three-point attempt and Donaldson collected the defensive rebound before quickly being sent back to the line, where he sank two more to give Rhode Island some breathing room. Another RIC free throw pushed the lead back to double-digits, 84-74, with 31 seconds to go. Leroy added a jumper and one more RIC free throw accounted for the 85-76 final score.
Leroy finished 13-of-27 from the floor, added four triples and canned 13-of-16 from the charity stripe. His 26 second-half points were more than any other player's game total and eclipsed his season average of 24.8 points per game. Osgood added 19 points and eight rebounds.
Donaldson finished with a team-high 22 points and sank 9-of-10 from the line to preserve the win. He added five rebounds and four assists. Senior Malcolm Smith (Old Orchard Beach, Maine), freshman Adham Floyd (Worcester, Mass.) and junior Grant Gillis (Jamestown, R.I.) all finished in double-figures for the home team, scoring 17, 16 and 10 points respectively.
Plymouth State falls to 6-8 and 0-5 in LEC play, while RIC improves to 4-10 and 2-3 in conference action. The Panthers will host the University of Southern Maine in a home LEC game on Wednesday with tip off set for 7:30 p.m.
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