|Plymouth State University||University of Southern Maine|
GORHAM, Maine – Senior Zach Leal (York, Maine) scored a game-high 26 on 10-of-17 shooting from the field to lead the University of Southern Maine Huskies to a 63-58 win over the Plymouth State University Panthers Wednesday night at Fifield Court.
With the win, Southern Maine improve to 7-11 overall and 2-6 in the Little East. Plymouth State drops to 8-9 overall and 2-6 in the conference.
Leal was one of three players to score in double-figures for USM, adding five rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Junior Christian McCue (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) added 13 points, while senior James Starks III (Miami, Fla./Miami Killian) chipped in with 11 points and nine rebounds. Senior Fred Knight (Hampden, Maine/Hampden Academy) had a strong game off of the bench for the Huskies with eight points and seven rebounds.
Freshman Jaylen Leroy (Manchester, N.H./Central) and sophomore Mike Osgood (Nashua, N.H./Nashua South) each scored 15 points to lead the Panthers. Osgood added six rebounds. Senior Curtis Arsenault (Berlin, N.H.) added nine points off of the bench.
In a nip and tuck game throughout, USM went into the halftime break narrowly ahead of the Panthers 25-24. Trailing the Panthers with just three seconds before the break, McCue drained a three on a feed from Leal for the lead. It was one of three three-pointers on the night for McCue.
The game remained close in the second half and the score was tied at 30 on a pair of free throws from PSU senior Ernie Johnson (Springfield, Mass./Renaissance School), before USM opened up a 10-point advantage on a 10-0 run to lead 40-30 with 14:20 to play. Leal scored six in the run and Knight added four.
PSU chipped away at the lead over the next eight minutes and trailed USM, 55-53, with 4:29 to play on back-to-back buckets from Osgood. McCue answered with a deep three for the Huskies, making it 58-53, with just over four minutes to play. After each team squandered a possession, Osgood again answered the call for PSU with a bucket to make it a one-possession game with two minutes left; however the Huskies were able to get enough out of the free throw line to hold for win making 5-for-9.
Southern Maine remains in Little East Conference action and will travel to Western Connecticut State University on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) for its next contest. Plymouth State travels to UMass Dartmouth on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) for an LEC game