LeRoy pours in 23 points as Panthers suffer first LEC loss
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) pour in a game-high 23 points but Eastern Connecticut State University used a 13-2 run late in the second half to pull away for a 77-62 win in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Eastern Connecticut built a double-digit first half lead as PSU struggled to find its shot in the early going. Plymouth State come out strong in the second half. LeRoy drove through the lane to pull the Panthers to within 45-41 to bring the home crowd to its feet five minutes in.
Seven minutes later LeRoy's bucket made it a 59-53 deficit, but sophomore Cory Muckle (Westbrook, Conn.) drained a triple to spark a 13-2 spurt for the visitors.
Prior to the game, LeRoy was honored at center court after eclipsing the 1,000 career point threshold at Castleton University last week.
The setback snaps a three-game win streak for the Panthers, who move to 6-4 overall and 3-1 in LEC action, while the Warriors improve to 6-2 and 3-1 in league play.
Plymouth State 62, Eastern Connecticut 77
Plymouth State 6-4, 3-1 LEC
Eastern Connecticut 6-2, 3-1 LEC
How it Happened:
* PSU got off to a hot start as junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) and LeRoy hit from long range in the opening minutes. ECSU pulled ahead and Muckle hit from downtown, the first of four triples, as the Warriors increased the lead to 18-8 just over seven minutes in.
* Eastern Connecticut maintained the lead through the remainder of the half, denying the Panthers a chance to build momentum by answering each PSU shot with a bucket of their own.
* Simpson drained another three-pointer with 4:23 left in the half to cut the deficit to 32-22 and the Panthers went into the break trailing 37-27.
* The two teams went back and forth over the first four minutes of the second half, until a Warriors' technical foul sparked the home team. LeRoy hit both free throws and PSU scored six straight cut pull within 45-41 with 14:36 to go.
* The teams traded baskets and freshman Sopie Pek (Easthampton, Mass.) made it 49-45 two minutes later, but senior Donny Craig (Waterford, Conn.) buried a big triple on the next possession.
* PSU hung around and LeRoy's lay-in made it 59-53 with 7:41 remaining, before Muckle sank a huge three-pointer to spark the Warriors' game-changing run.
Inside the Numbers:
* Freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) finished with 13 points on 6-of-11 shooting, and added three assists and a pair of steals.
* Junior Jake Collagan (Wethersfield, Conn.) led the Warriors with 20 points as all five ECSU starters finished in double figures. Muckle added 12 points, all from beyond the arc, while the remaining three starters totaled 11 points each.
* Eastern Connecticut has won seven of the last eight meetings.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We don't give up," applauded head coach Andrew Novick. "The kids have a lot of heart. They really battled today and we were tested. I was happy with the way we responded, but we didn't make enough shots down the stretch. We'll learn a lot from this game."
* Plymouth State is off for the next three weeks for final exams and the holiday break. The Panthers return to action on Jan. 3 for a home contest with Framingham State University at 7:30 p.m.
* The Warriors head to Miami, Fla. on Dec. 17 and 18 for the Miami Shootout. ECSU faces Carthage at noon in the opener.
|LeRoy with his mother and head coach Andrew Novick|
– 30 –