Feb. 14, 2009
BOSTON, MA - Senior point guard Ben Huntington (Hampstead, NH) scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Plymouth State University men's basketball team over host University of Massachusetts Boston, 72-58, this afternoon in a Little East Conference game at the Clark Athletic Center on the campus of UMass Boston. The Beacons fall to 4-19 overall and 2-10 in LEC play, while the Panthers improve to 11-12 and 7-5.
The Plymouth State defense was stifling, holding UMass Boston to just 31% (18-58) from the floor, including 22.7% (5-22) in the second half.
Sophomore guard Ryan Lambert (Derry, NH) made a lay-up to open the second half and give the Panthers a 31-20 lead, but the Beacons went on a 12-2 run, capped by a baseline dunk from junior Ernst Jean (Malden, MA), to pull to within 33-32 with 15:27 left in the second half, but it would be as close as they would get as the visitors responded with 12 unanswered points to take a 45-32 advantage with 11:40 left in the contest. Junior guard Jason O'Keefe (Everett, MA) and Huntington keyed the run with six and five points, respectively.
Plymouth State took a 61-43 lead for their largest of the afternoon with 5:26 showing in the second stanza, before UMass Boston put together a 12-5 burst, paced by seven points from Jean and five from Joseph, to cut the deficit to 66-55 with 1:11 remaining in the game, but the home team would get no closer.
Lambert drained the second of two straight three-pointers as the Panthers raced out to a 16-6 lead in the first seven minutes of the first half, but the Beacons cut the margin to 18-12 with 9:46 showing on the first half clock. Lambert and O'Keefe answered with back-to-back trifectas to increase the Plymouth State advantage to 24-12 with 8:12 left in the first stanza. Neither team made a field goal in the final 4:10 of play as the Panthers took a 29-20 lead into halftime.
Huntington was 6-11 from the field and a perfect 10-10 from the line for Plymouth State and added five rebounds, three assists and a block, while O'Keefe finished with 13 points and two boards in 22 minutes off the bench. Lambert contributed with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and a blocked shot off the bench, while junior forward Mike Chergey (Bow, NH) chipped in with 12 points, three rebounds, and a steal in 22 minutes of action.
Jean led UMass Boston with 21 points on 7-12 from the floor to go with a rebound, two steals, an assist and a blocked shot, while sophomore forward Pat Joseph (Queens, NY) just missed a double-double with 16 points on 6-11 from the field and nine rebounds in addition to a career-high five steals and a blocked shot. Senior point guard A.J. Titus (Roxbury, MA) played in his school-record 111th career game and finished with six points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal in his final home game for the Beacons.
UMass Boston will be in action again on Tuesday, February 17 when it goes to North Dartmouth, MA to play Little East Conference foe University of Massachusetts Dartmouth at 7:30 p.m., while the Panthers host University of Southern Maine for a 7:30 p.m. tip on February 17.