Panthers erase 17-point deficit before falling in OT
KEENE, N.H. – Junior DeVon Beasley (Andover, Mass.) hit a three-pointer in the final seconds of regulation and Keene State College outscored Plymouth State University by a 10-4 margin in overtime to escape with an 83-77 win in a Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball game at Spaulding Gymnasium on Wednesday night.
The Owls built a lead as large as 17 midway through the second half and still led by double digits with five minutes to play, but PSU stormed back. Junior Gerald Fleming (Tampa, Fla.) hit four straight from the free throw line to even the game at 69-69 with just over two minutes remaining and moments later sophomore Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) put the Panthers ahead, 71-70, with a baseline jumper. A pair of free throws extended the lead to three, but Beasley hit a pull-up triple to even the game with 4.6 seconds to go and PSU was unable to hit a game-winner in its ensuing possession.
Both teams struggled to score in the overtime period, with Keene using two free throws to hold a slight lead. Beasley hit another triple with 1:28 to go to push the margin to six, 80-74, and the Panthers were unable to come back.
The loss snaps Plymouth State's six game winning streak and drops the Panthers to 12-8 and 6-5 in the Little East. Keene State improves to 8-13 and 6-6 in conference play.
Plymouth State 77, Keene State 83 (OT)
Plymouth State (12-8, 6-5 LEC)
Keene State (8-13, 6-6 LEC)
How it Happened.
- Keene got off to a good start using a 24-9 run to open the game.
- The Owls maintained the lead, but a midrange jumper from freshman Kevin Henry (Stratham, N.H.) and triple by sophomore Manny Sanchez (Lawrence, Mass.) sliced the deficit to 33-23 with 5:37 on the clock.
- KSC followed with seven unanswered points as the lead ballooned to 17 with 2:10 to go, but Plymouth State fought back behind four points from senior Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) and Rivera's trifecta at the buzzer made it a 42-32 game at the half.
- Keene maintained the lead for most of the second half, but Henry hit a pair of free throws, then came up with a steal leading to a three-ball by junior Chris McCarthy (Chelmsford, Mass.). Fleming followed with four straight from the line to even the game at 69-69 with 2:10 to play.
- Keene went ahead with one-of-two from the line to go back in front, but Rivera buried a baseline jumper at the other end as the Panthers took their first lead, 71-70, with just over a minute to go.
- Rivera drew a charge on the defensive end and LeRoy buried two more from the line to extend the lead to 73-70, but Keene drew even on junior DeVon Beasley (Andover, Mass.) with 4.6 seconds left on the clock to send the game into overtime.
- Keene scored the first four points of the extra frame and Beasley drilled another three to give the hosts an 80-74 with 1:28 left on the clock.
- Rivera calmly sank two from the line and McCarthy went one-of-two from the stripe to cut the margin to 80-77 inside of a minute to play, but the Owls hit three free throws and held PSU went cold as Keene escaped with the win.
Inside the Numbers:
- Rivera led the Panthers with 18 points, while LeRoy added a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
- Early came off the bench to score 10 points on 3-of-5 shooting and McCarthy ended with six points and four assists.
- Beasley led all players with a game-high 25 points, including 7-of-14 shooting from beyond the arc.
- PSU sank 24-of-30 from the charity stripe, while the Owls struggled at the line, shooting less than 60% (22-of-37).
- Keene held a 46-39 advantage on the boards.
- Plymouth State welcomes league-leading UMass Dartmouth to town for a huge conference battle on Saturday (Feb. 8), with game time set for 3:00 p.m.
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