LeRoy with team-high 16 points as Panthers' season comes to an end
DARTMOUTH, Mass. – Junior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) scored a team-high 16 points, including three three-pointers, but sixth-seeded Plymouth State University fell to third-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 83-65, in the opening round of the Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball tournament at Tripp Athletic Center on Tuesday night.
UMass Dartmouth advances to the semifinals to face second-seeded Eastern Connecticut at Keene State's Spalding Gymnasium on Friday (Feb. 22), while the Panthers' season comes to an end.
The hosts jumped out to a 7-0 lead and never looked back. LeRoy sank a pair of free throws to pull within 9-4 in the early going, but the Corsairs scored seven straight to go up by double-figures. UMass Dartmouth would maintain the double-digit lead until late in the opening half. Plymouth used a 7-2 spurt, with six points from freshman Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.), to pull within 25-19 with 4:24 remaining in the half, but UMD scored the next six points and held a 33-24 lead at the half.
Junior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) finished at the rim and hit the ensuing free throw to cut the deficit to eight, 35-27, in the opening minute of the second half, and, after a UMD bucket, freshman Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) laid it in, but the Corsairs responded with an 11-4 run over the next five minutes to seize control. Simpson buried a triple to make it 60-46 with 7:33, but that was as close as the Panthers would get.
PSU ends its season at an even 13-13, while the setback marks the final game for seniors Janvier Johnson (Windsor, Conn.), Liam Densmore (Portland, Maine), Chris Calnan (Wakefield, Mass.), Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H.) and Mark DiLauro (North Branford, Conn.).
The Final Score:
Plymouth State 65, UMass Dartmouth 83
Plymouth State (13-13)
UMass Dartmouth (19-7)
How it Happened:
* The Corsairs scored the game's first seven points before Alisandro hit from close range. LeRoy sank two from the charity stripe to cut the early deficit to 9-4 after 3:30 of action, but the hosts used another 7-0 spurt to push the lead to 16-4 at the six minute mark.
* UMD maintained a double-digit lead for much of the remainder of the half. Freshman Chris McCarthy (Chelmsford, Mass.) got inside to cut it to 18-10 at the midpoint of the half, but UMD promptly pushed the lead back to 11.
* Sophomore Sam Bonney-Liles (Hudson, N.H.) pulled down an errant shot and scored on the put back to make it 23-15 with six minutes left, but again the Corsairs answered at the other end.
* Alisandro took over for a brief stretch, converting a pair of steals into four points for the Panthers as PSU pulled to within six, 25-19, with 4:24 left in the half.
* The hosts scored the next eight points to restore the double-digit lead, but Simpson closed the half with a triple and two free throws to make it 33-24 at the break.
* After UMD sank a bucket to open the second half, Simpson went hard to the lane, absorbed the contact and drained the shot and ensuing free throw to again pull the Panthers to within eight, 35-27.
* The teams traded baskets as Rivera's layup made it 37-29 just 1:24 into the second half, but the Corsairs used an 11-4 run over the next five minutes to push the lead to 15, 48-33.
* Osgood rattled the rim with a dunk and Simpson hit from beyond the arc as the Panthers attempted to generate some momentum, but sophomore Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) answered from downtown for UMD and Plymouth couldn't cut into the deficit.
* Simpson sank his third three-pointer with 7:33 remaining, pulled PSU to within 60-46, but UMass Dartmouth answered with six straight points and the Panthers didn't get closer than 15 the rest of the way.
Inside the Numbers:
* LeRoy went 3-of-8 from distance on the way to his 16 points, while Simpson added 14 points on 3-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc. Simpson also contributed seven rebounds.
* Alisandro had another strong game totaling 12 points, eight rebounds and four steals, while Osgood chipped in with eight points and three boards.
* Freshman Bryton Early (Somersworth, N.H.) came off the bench for seven points and three steals.
* UMD held a 43-32 advantage on the glass and outscored the Panthers in the paint by a 42-28 margin.
* The Panthers qualified for the LEC Tournament for the 33rd straight year.
* Osgood wraps up his career with 1,059 career points to finish 21st on the Panthers' all-time scoring leaders list, while LeRoy's 1,299 career points are eighth all-time.
* PSU finished the year with four players averaging double figures and all four are expected to return next winter; LeRoy (17.3 ppg), Rivera (16.0 ppg), Alisandro (13.2 ppg) and Simpson (11.3 ppg).
* Alisandro closes the season as the team's top rebounder, averaging 7.8 boards per game, while Rivera ends the year as one of the league's top threats from long range, shooting 43.2% from distance.
Straight from the Coach's Mouth:
"We struggled to find consistency at both ends of the floor tonight against a very physical UMass Dartmouth team," said head coach Andrew Novick. "A big thank you to all of our seniors! They have meant so much to our team and this great university. With an exciting group of returners expected back, we will use this setback to help shape our return to the court next season."
* Top-seeded Keene State will host the Final Four this weekend, where UMass Dartmouth will face second-seeded Eastern Connecticut State on Friday (Feb. 22).
* Plymouth State's season comes to an end.
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