PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Dante Rivera and Jaylen LeRoy each scored 23 points to lead the Plymouth State University Panthers to a 102-86 win over the University of Southern Maine Huskies in a Little East Conference men's basketball game Wednesday night at Foley Gymnasium.
With the win, Plymouth State improves to 13-12 overall and 7-9 in the Little East Conference. The Huskies have their two-game win-streak stopped with the loss and fall to 6-18 overall and 3-12 in conference action.
The Panthers shot nearly 60 percent from the field and had four players in double figures en route to reaching the century mark for the first time this season. Rivera was 7-for-12 from the field with three three-pointers, while LeRoy went 7-for-9, including 4-for-6 from three. LeRoy added a game-high nine rebounds and had three assists. Bryton Early was a perfect 6-for-6 for 15 points, while Joe Simpson added 11 points.
Southern Maine junior Jayvon Pitts-Young (Portland, Maine) led all scorers with 30 points on 12-for-21 shooting from the field, adding six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Senior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) had 17 points and three assists, while classmate Sean Jany (Westbrook, Maine) had 10 points six rebounds, and four blocked shots. Junior Derek Haney (Auburn, Calif./Placer had nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from three. Sophomore Kylani Lafleur (Dover, N.H./Portsmouth Christian) had eight points and seven rebounds.
Southern Maine shot a solid 44.3 percent (31-for-70) from the field for the game, but ran into a red-hot Panthers team that shot 57.6 percent (34-for-59) from the floor and 45.8 percent (11-for-24) from three point range. PSU was 8-for-11 from three in the first half and 58.1 percent overall to open up a 52-38 lead at the break. LeRoy had 15 of his 23 in the opening half, while Rivera had nine.
The Huskies battled back in the second half and cut the lead to single-digits on five occasions but could not get over the hump. A three from Haney with 9:05 to play make it an eight-point game, 80-72, but the Panthers outscored USM 12-5 over the next five minutes to take a 92-77 lead, capped by a free throw from LeRoy.
McCue scored the next four points of the game for the Huskies to make it an 92-82 disadvantage with 2:35 on the clock, but PSU stayed ahead closing the game outscoring USM 10-4 down the stretch for the 102-86 final.
Southern Maine travels to Western Connecticut on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) in Little East Conference action.