PLYMOUTH, NH - The rivalry between Plymouth State College and Keene State College heated up again Tuesday night at Foley Gymnasium, and the Owls' victories in both basketball games have turned the race for the Presidents' Trophy into a rout.
In the opening contest of the evening, the Owl women trailed the Panthers most of the second half but went on a 16-7 run late in the game to pull out a 75-68 verdict. The Owl men pulled off the sweep by hitting a three-pointer with 20 seconds remaining, taking its first lead of the game and holding off the Panthers at the buzzer, 97-96.
Already leading 7-0 in head-to-head encounters this season, Keene State now holds a demanding 9-0 advantage in the race for the 1999-2000 Presidents' Trophy. As lopsided as it seems, seven of the nine meetings have been decided by one goal/point, two were in overtime, and the remaining pair were hardly blowouts -- a two-goal soccer game and a seven-point basketball game.
The outcomes also kept Keene State ahead of Plymouth State in the LEC basketball standings. The KSC men improved to 11-3 overall and 5-1 in the LEC, while PSC dropped to 9-5 and 3-3. The Owl women upped their records to 10-5 overall and 4-2 in the conference, while PSC is now 9-4 and 2-3.
The PSC women had a 33-27 lead at the half, but couldn't hold off the Owls in the second half. Junior Krystyna Zagorski (Matawan, NJ) led the Panther attack with 16 points and 11 rebounds, hitting 6-of-11 from the field. Senior Courtney Jacques (Belmont, NH) added 13 points and freshman Courtney Albert (Hudson, NH) chipped in with 11. The Owls had four players in double figures, led by Megan Jalbert with 18 points and nine boards.
The Panther men also led at halftime, 50-41, but couldn't turn away the pesky Owls. PSC led by 13 two minutes into the second half, as by as many as 11 with nine minutes to play, but Keene State rallied behind Chris Coates (game-high 32 points).
The Owls tied the game at 94-94 with a minute to play, but PSC freshman Dan Craig (Chelmsford, Mass.) drained a clutch baseline jumper with 29 seconds left to give the Panthers a two-point advantage. KSC sophomore David Stantial had the answer, sinking the game-deciding three-pointer nine seconds later. A running jumper at the buzzer by PSC freshman Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, NH) rolled in and out.
Junior forward Tony Martinez (Barnstead, NH) led PSC with 23 points, while Craig added 15, Stewart 12 and Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.) 11 points and seven rebounds.
The Panther women are at home Thursday (Jan. 20) to host Norwich University (7 p.m.), while the men play their own non-conference affair at Endicott College (6 p.m.). Both teams will be back at Foley Gymnasium Saturday (Jan. 22) to host Eastern Connecticut in a Little East Conference twinbill (women at 1 p.m., men at 3 p.m.).
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