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PSC Basketball team split with Keene State

KEENE, N.H. - The rivalry between Plymouth State College and Keene State College continued Tuesday night at Spaulding Gymnasium, with the two schools winning once in a Little East Conference basketball doubleheader.

The KSC women captured the opening contest of the evening, 60-49, but the PSC men came back to register a 111-110 overtime victory in the nightcap. It was the first Panther triumph of any kind against Keene State this school year, following 11 consecutive Owl victories.

In the women's game, Julie Tardiff (Atkinson, NH) had a game-high 15 points and Megan Jalbert (Jaffrey, NH) and Hayley Alaimo (Ellington, Conn.) each added 10 points to lead the Owls to the 11-point win and season sweep of the Panthers. Senior Courtney Jacques (Belmont, NH) had 11 points and 10 rebounds to pace the Panthers, and freshman Courtney Albert (Hudson, NH) added 10 points.

With the victory, Keene State improves to 13-8 overall and 7-4 in the LEC. PSC, which had its four-game winning streak stopped, falls to 14-6 and 5-5.

The Owls, who led 30-17 at the break, withstood a comeback attempt by the Panthers in the second half. A basket by Jacques closed the gap to six points (52-46) with 2:10 left to play, but free throws by Tardiff and Kerrie Raymond (Goffstown, NH) sealed the win for KSC.

The men's game came down to the final buzzer for the second straight meeting, finishing in a one-point decision. KSC's Derek Swenson (Attleboro, Mass.) and Evan Breckenridge (Ringe, NH) each missed shots in the closing seconds of overtime enabling PSC to hold on for the win.

Panther freshman Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, NH) scored what proved to be the winning points seconds earlier when he hit two free throws with 14 seconds on the clock. He had missed an attempt in the last second of a 97-96 Keene State win in Plymouth last month.

The victory improves PSC's record to 12-9 overall and 5-6 in the LEC, while KSC dips to 13-8 and 6-5. The Owls were playing without top scorer Chris Coates, who will miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury.

Leading 53-48 at the break, PSC built up a 12-point lead early in the second half. Keene State fought back to take a 74-73 lead with 11:20 remaining, and it was a see-saw battle the rest of the way. With the score tied at 99-all, Keene's David Stantial (Beverly, Mass.) had a chance to win the game in the final seconds of regulation, just as he did last month in Plymouth, but he was off target with a three-point shot.

The lead went back-and-forth in the overtime, and Keene State took it last lead with 28 seconds remaining, but Stewart was fouled by Swenson and the freshman guard hit the two winning free throws.

Seven PSC players scored in double figures, including junior Tony Martinez (Barnstead, NH) who led a balanced Panther attack with 20 points. The rest of the double-figure scorers included Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.) with 19, Stewart with 16, Dan Craig (Chelmsford, Mass.) with 15, Shannon Gallagher (Plymouth, NH) with 11, and Mark Dunham (Deryr, NH) and JaModi Robinson (Framingham, Mass.) with 10 apiece.

The Panther women are at home Thursday (Feb. 10) to host Rhode Island College (7 p.m.), and both teams will be at Foley Gymnasium this Saturday (Feb. 12) to host UMass Boston in a Little East Conference twinbill (women at 1 p.m., men at 3 p.m.).

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