LeRoy posts team-high 20 points in setback
PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Jaylen LeRoy (Manchester, N.H.) scored a team-high 20 points, but second-seeded University of Massachusetts Dartmouth nailed 12 three-pointers to top third-seeded Plymouth State University, 84-71, in the semifinal round of the Little East Conference (LEC) men's basketball tournament at the Tripp Athletic Center on Thursday night.
In a sign of things to come, the Corsairs hit from long range in the opening possession. PSU took a 14-9 lead, but UMD used a 21-4 run over a six-minute stretch to build a 12-point advantage. Plymouth State rallied to cut the deficit to five, 32-29, at the half, but the Corsairs came out of the break with a game-changing 15-2 surge and would lead by double digits the rest of the way.
Plymouth State ends its season with a 16-11 mark to equal the most wins in ten years, while the Panthers' appearance in the semifinal was its deepest run since a finals appearance in the 2004-05 season. The setback marks the final game for LeRoy, Joe Simpson (Manchester, N.H.) and Mark Lindberg (Southington, Conn.). LeRoy ends his career as one of the best to wear the green-and-white, as his 1,811 points rank fourth in program history.
Plymouth State 71, UMass Dartmouth 84
Plymouth State (16-11)
UMass Dartmouth (16-10)
How it Happened.
- The hosts got out to a quick start as junior Jake Ashworth (Fairhaven, Mass.) buried a right wing three on the first possession. PSU answered with a 7-2 run, though, as LeRoy answered from long range.
- Sophomore Manny Alisandro (Manchester, N.H.) finished from inside and moments later classmate Manny Sanchez (Lawrence, Mass.) laid it in to give the Panthers a 14-9 lead with 12:19 left in the opening half.
- UMass Dartmouth got hot from long range as sophomore Adam Seablom (Lakeville, Mass.) and Ashworth hit from downtown to spark an 21-4 spurt for the Corsairs, capped by yet another Ashworth triple, giving the hosts a 30-18, with just under seven minutes to play.
- The Panthers clawed back as junior Gerald Fleming (Tampa, Fla.) laid it in and sophomore Dante Rivera (Methuen, Mass.) connected from beyond the arc. Fleming finished at the rim on the next possession to cut the margin to five with five minutes left in the half.
- The teams traded points from there as UMD took a 34-29 lead into the locker room.
- The Corsairs used a 15-2 surge to open an 18-point lead four minutes into the second half.
- Plymouth State was able to trim the deficit to 13, 62-49, on LeRoy's three with 6:21 to go, but that was as close as the Panthers would get until junior Devin Cooper's (Newfield, N.Y.) put back in the final 30 seconds made it 82-71.
- UMD would hit a pair of free throws to account for the final score.
Inside the Numbers:
- LeRoy led the Panthers with 20 points including 4-of-9 shooting from distance. He closes out his remarkable career with 1,811 points to finish fourth among the program's all-time leading scorers.
- Cooper posted an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Alisandro went 5-of-6 from the floor for 11 points and five rebounds.
- Rivera chipped in with seven points, four rebounds, four assists and two steals.
- Ashworth hit five triples for a game-high 35 points, while sophomore Marcus Azor (Brockton, Mass.) and Seablom added 16 points apiece.
- PSU shot 41.9% (26-62) from the field and went 6-of-19 (31.6%) from beyond the arc, but UMD sank 12-of-25 (48.0%) from long range.
- UMass Dartmouth avenged a pair of regular season losses to the Panthers.
- Plymouth State's season comes to an end, while the Corsairs will visit top-seeded WestConn for the LEC Championship game Saturday (Feb. 29) at 2:00 p.m.
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