Panthers secure playoff spot on Senior Night
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) and freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) each scored 23 points to lead Plymouth State University to a 102-86 win over the University of Southern Maine in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Wednesday night on Senior Night.
The win, coupled with Rhode Island College's loss at WestConn, locks up a playoff spot for the Panthers. Plymouth State's final seeding will be determined on Saturday as RIC hosts the University of Massachusetts Boston. Should the Anchormen defend their home court PSU will be the #5 seed for next week's LEC Tournament, while a win by UMass Boston would make the Panthers the #6 seed.
PSU wraps up the regular season at 13-12 and 7-9 in the LEC, while USM falls to 6-18 and 3-12 in league play. The Huskies have been eliminated from postseason play.
Southern Maine held a 17-13 lead after seven minutes of action, but the Panthers used a 20-3 burst over the next five minutes to seize control as the hosts took a 52-38 lead into the locker room. The Huskies chipped away in the second half, getting to within seven points at one occasion, but Plymouth State answered every run with one of its own on the way to the win.
Prior to the game Plymouth State honored its six seniors; Janvier Johnson (Windsor, Conn.), Liam Densmore (Portland, Maine), Chris Calnan (Wakefield, Mass.), Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) and Mark DiLauro (North Branford, Conn.) and manager Jacob Scheinman (Plymouth, N.H.).
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 102, Southern Maine 86
Plymouth State (13-12, 7-9 LEC)
Southern Maine (6-18, 3-12 LEC)
How it Happened:
* USM got off to a quick start as three different Huskies hit from downtown to build an 11-3 lead, but PSU rallied as Johnson drained a pair of triples of his own to tie the game at 11-11 after five minutes of action.
* Junior Jayvon Pitts-Young (Portland, Maine) scored two of his game-high 30 points to put the visitors up 17-13 with 13:13 left in the half, but Plymouth State answered.
* The Panthers went 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and limited USM to just three points over the next five minutes to seize a 33-20 advantage. Rivera, LeRoy and freshman Bryton Early (Somersworth, N.H.) combined for 17 points over the stretch.
* Pitts-Young cut the margin to ten, 37-27, with 5:46 left in the half, but LeRoy drained threes on the next two possessions and junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) got to the bucket as the lead ballooned to 47-29 two minutes later.
* Freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) closed out the first half with a drive to the basket to give PSU a 52-38 lead at the half.
* The Panthers maintained the double-digit lead over the first three minutes of the second half, until Pitts-Young scored on a put back to make it 57-48.
* USM got within seven twice, once on a jumper from senior Sean Jany (Westbrook, Maine) and, after LeRoy answered with a three-pointer, again on a triple from junior Derek Haney (Auburn, Calif.), but that was as close as it would get.
* Southern Maine hung around and trailed 86-77 with 6:51 remaining, when sank his third trifecta to spark another Panthers' run.
* Densmore canned four straight from the charity stripe as Plymouth State reached the century mark, 100-86, with 1:02 left, and sophomore Dimmone Marshall (Roslindale, Mass.) added to more from the stripe to account for the final score.
Inside the Numbers:
* Rivera went 7-of-12 from the field, 3-of-7 from downtown and 6-of-6 at the line for his 23 points, while LeRoy was an efficient 7-of-9 and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. He added five free throws in seven attempts.
* Rivera added four steals and three assists, while LeRoy totaled a game-high nine rebounds.
* Early chipped in with 15 points and Simpson added 11.
* Pitts-Young posted a game-high 30 points and added six boards and four assists, while senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine) contributed 17 points. Jany chipped in with 10 points and six boards.
* PSU shot an impressive 57.6% from the floor (34-of-59) and went 11-of-24 (45.8%) from long range.
* The Panthers were also good from the free throw line, making 23-of-29 (79.3%).
* The 102 points were the most for the Panthers since topping Castleton, 113-64, in Nov. 2008.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"It's a great group of seniors," said head coach Andrew Novick. "They gave us a big boost of energy and we're happy. We're happy they won the game and now we turn our attention to the tournament. We created a tempo that I thought really helped us. When we're playing fast and together and guarding well on the defensive end I think we're fun to watch."
* Plymouth State will be on the road for the opening round of the Little East Tournament on Tuesday (Feb. 19), but the opponent will not be determined until after the conclusion of conference play on Saturday.
* Southern Maine closes out the season at WestConn on Saturday (Feb. 16) at 3:00 p.m.
|PSU seniors with head coach Andrew Novick and their families|
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