Surging Panthers win third straight LEC contest
BOSTON, Mass. – Juniors Devin Cooper (Newfield, N.Y.) and Gerald Fleming (Tampa, Fla.) each recorded double-doubles and Plymouth State University erased a 13-point first half deficit to top the University of Massachusetts Boston, 68-59, in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
Cooper went for 17 points and 17 rebounds, while Fleming added 13 points and 11 boards as the surging Panthers improved to 4-1 over their last five games. Plymouth State relied on its interior strength to outscore the Beacons 42-22 in the paint and the Panthers owned a 52-36 edge on the boards to pick up the LEC win.
Plymouth State trailed by as many as 13 midway through the first half, but trimmed the deficit to just two, 28-26, at the half. Cooper scored seven straight points as PSU pulled ahead, 31-30, 2:42 into the second half and Plymouth State would lead the rest of the way.
Plymouth State, riding a three-game winning streak, improves to 9-7 overall and evens its conference mark at 4-4. UMass Boston drops to 11-6 and 5-3 in the Little East.
Plymouth State 68, UMass Boston 59
Plymouth State (9-7, 4-4 LEC)
UMass Boston (11-6, 5-3 LEC)
How it Happened.
- The teams went back-and-forth over the first few minutes, before UMB used four triples in a 17-3 run to grab a 20-7 lead midway through the first.
- Plymouth State responded, though, and a three-pointer from senior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) and Cooper's inside bucket evened the game at 23-23 with four minutes left in the half.
- The Beacons would hold a narrow, 28-26 lead at the end of the half.
- Cooper and Fleming combined to score PSU's first 12 points of the second half as the Panthers moved in front, 38-34.
- Cooper grabbed a defensive rebound and fired a home run pass to Rivera, who finished at the other end to push the lead to 52-43 with 6:27 remaining.
- The Beacons pulled to within six, but freshman Kevin Henry (Stratham, N.H.) got past his man and found Fleming all alone under the basket to make it 56-48 with four minutes to go.
- Fleming finished a reverse layup, but junior Michael Boyd (Malden, Mass.) drilled a three on the right wing to pull the hosts to within seven, 58-51, with three minutes left.
- LeRoy swished a three from the left wing and his put back off a Rivera miss pushed the lead to 65-53 with one minute to go, but Boyd answered with another triple.
- Henry sank three-of-four from the charity stripe to seal the Panthers' win.
Inside the Numbers:
- Cooper's 17 rebounds were just two shy of his career high established on Mar. 4, 2017.
- LeRoy added 17 points and was a perfect 3-of-3 from downtown.
- Fleming went 5-of-8 from the field and added three assists to his double-double.
- Henry was huge off the bench, going 5-of-7 from the floor on his way to 15 points and five boards.
- Sophomore Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) dished out a game-high six assists.
- The Panthers owned a 52-36 advantage on the glass and outscored UMass Boston 42-22 in the paint.
- The Beacons struggled at the free throw line, converting just 4-of-15 chances.
- PSU wraps up its stretch of three straight road conference games with a 3:00 p.m. contest at Rhode Island College on Saturday (Jan. 25).
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