LeRoy, Panthers win sixth in a row
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) notched a game-high 22 points and Plymouth State University used a 6-0 run over the final 90 seconds as the Panthers stayed hot with a 66-58 win over Western Connecticut State University in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Foley Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
LeRoy's three-pointer gave the Panthers a 58-54 lead with four minutes remaining, but the Colonials chipped away and tied the game at 58-58 with less than two minutes to play. LeRoy used a head fake to get to the basket to break the tie and freshman Kevin Henry (Stratham, N.H.) nailed two free throws before LeRoy came up with a steal. Sophomore Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) hit twice from the charity stripe and LeRoy came away with another steal before locking up the win with two more free throws.
Plymouth State has won six in a row and seven of eight to improve to 12-7 and 6-4 in the Little East. WestConn dips to 13-7 and 7-4 in conference play.
Plymouth State 66, WestConn 58
Plymouth State (12-7, 6-4 LEC)
WestConn (13-7, 7-4 LEC)
How it Happened.
- WestConn got off to a hot start as senior Fenton Bradley, Jr. (Mansfield, Conn.) picked up six quick points in a 12-3 run over the first four minutes.
- The visitors pushed the lead to double figures on a pair of free throws, but junior Gerald Fleming (Tampa, Fla.) threw down a breakaway dunk to spark a 10-2 spurt as the Panthers pulled to within 18-16 after nine minutes.
- Junior Legend Johnson (Waterbury, Conn.) nailed a triple to momentarily stop the surge, but Fleming got open underneath for back-to-back baskets and PSU scored 11-straight points. Senior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) capped the run with a three from the left corner to give Plymouth a 27-21 lead with 7:26 remaining.
- WestConn answered with a 12-0 run with six points by Bradley, Jr., including a fast break dunk, to take a 33-27 lead with four minutes left in the half.
- Rivera trimmed the deficit to four, but senior Tracy Cleckley (Rosedale, N.Y.) answered for the Colonials as the visitors took a 35-29 lead into the break.
- Rivera and LeRoy combined to score the first ten points of the second half as PSU moved back ahead, 39-35, on Rivera's second three-pointer in the first four minutes.
- Sophomore Manny Sanchez (Lawrence, Mass.) came up with a huge block on a Colonials' breakout, then ran the floor and finished at the other end to push the Plymouth State lead to 44-37 with 12:47 to go.
- Bradley, Jr. and junior Shea Tracy (New Britain, Conn.) each had four points during an 12-0 run as WestConn went back in front, 49-44, with eight minutes remaining.
- Plymouth followed with an 11-2 run and LeRoy's second three in as many possessions put the Panthers back in the lead, 55-51, with five minutes left to play, but the Colonials answered to knot the game at 58-58.
- LeRoy got his man in the air with a head fake, then drove the lane to give PSU a 60-58 advantage with 1:18 remaining and a pair of free throws by Henry made it a two-possession game. LeRoy came up with a steal on the defensive end and Rivera swished two from the charity stripe to push the lead to 64-58.
- LeRoy grabbed another steal and sank two from the line, and Henry drew a charge under the basket with 12.5 seconds to play to earn the win.
Inside the Numbers:
- LeRoy went 4-of-6 from distance and added three steals to his 22-point effort.
- Rivera was the only other Panther in double digits, with 14 points. He added four rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.
- Fleming had a solid all-around game with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting to go with a team-high six boards.
- Bradley, Jr. led the Colonials with 20 points and added six rebounds.
- PSU went 8-of-14 from beyond the arc and limited WestConn to just 2-of-14 from downtown.
- PSU held a 34-32 advantage on the glass.
- Both teams are back in conference action on Wednesday (Feb. 5). The Panthers head to Keene State while WestConn hosts UMass Boston. Both games tip-off at 7:30 p.m.
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