GORHAM, Maine – Senior guard Chris Pagentine (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson) calmly sank two free throws with 2.8 second remaining in regulation to lift the University of Southern Maine Huskies to an 85-84 win over the Western Connecticut State University Colonials Saturday afternoon at Hill Gymnasium in Gorham, Maine.
With the win Southern Maine rebounds from a two-game skid to improve to 8-10 overall and 2-7 in the Little East Conference. The loss is the first in three games for the Colonials who dip to 15-4 overall and 6-3 in the LEC. The Huskies' win over the Colonials avenges an 88-58 loss earlier this season.
Pagentine was able to sink the game-winning free throws for the Huskies following an outstanding defensive effort from senior forward Jeremy Jackson (Laplace, La./Independence). After blocking a shot on the Colonials previous possession, Jackson was able to coral a huge defensive rebound off of a missed free throw that would have given the Colonials a two-point lead with seconds remaining. However, Jackson's career-high 15th rebound of the game gave the Huskies another possession trailing 84-83 with 12 seconds to play. Fouled on the perimeter while attempting to drive to the basket, Pagentine sank both ends of a 1-and-1 for the win. The Colonials were unable to get a shot off in the final seconds of the game.
Jackson finished the game with a monster double-double on 25 points and 15 rebounds. He added three assists, one block and one steal. Pagentine, who was 7-for-12 from the field, had 18 points and two assists. Sophomore guard Brandon Tomah (Princeton, Maine/Calais) and junior guard Alex Kee (Bath, Maine/Morse) chipped in with 15 and 12 points each. Kee had four assists, while Tomah had three assists and three steals.
Senior guard DaQuan Brooks (Atlanta, Ga./Bristol Central (Conn.)) led the Colonials with 24 points and nine assists. Senior forward Gary Robinson (Torrington, Conn./Hotchkiss) added 14 points and six rebounds, while junior Michael Jensen (Gales Ferry, Conn./Ledyard) and sophomore center James Barnes (Middletown, Conn./Xavier) had 12 and 11 points each. Barnes led the Colonials in rebounding with seven boards.
The Huskies trailed Western Connecticut by as many as 11 points in the second half. Following a three-pointer from junior guard Ryan Pelletier (Wolcott, Conn.), the Colonials held a 72-61 advantage over the Huskies with 8:42 to play. The Huskies responded however scoring 13 straight points to lead 74-72 with 5:12 remaining. Four different players scored for the Huskies in the run, led by four points each from Jackson and sophomore forward John Roberts (Falmouth, Maine).
Brooks scored five straight points for the Colonials to regain a 77-74 lead with 4:02 to play and both teams battled over the next one minute and 19 seconds before Tomah canned a game-tying three with 2:43 on the clock for an 81-81 deadlock. The Colonials Jensen responded to Tomah's three with one of his own for a 84-81 Western Connecticut lead before Pagentine hit a jumper to pull USM to within one 84-83 with 1:19 on the clock. Jackson came up with the block on the next Colonial possession and then secured the big defensive rebound setting up Pagentine for the game-winning heroics.
Southern Maine on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.) when it hosts Colby College. Western Connecticut hosts Connecticut College on Tuesday (7:30 p.m.). Both games are non-conference.