KEENE, N.H. – The Keene State College men’s basketball team commemorated the 100th meeting between its longtime rival Plymouth State University Tuesday night by defeating the Panthers, 88-52, in a Little East Conference game at Spaulding Gym.
The series that began in 1934 when Keene Normal School defeated Plymouth Normal 63-19 now stands at 51-49 in the Owls’ favor.
The two teams didn’t face each other from 1985 to1996 when KSC played in Division II. The rivals hooked up again when the Owls joined Division III and LEC in the 1997-98 season. In LEC play, the Owls hold a 17-10 series lead. KSC has won the last five meetings.
Junior forward Tyler Kathan (Ludlow, Vt.), who was honored prior to the game for scoring his 1000th career point earlier in the season, finished with 24 points, including 19 in the first half to lead the Owls (10-6, 4-2 LEC) to their fourth in five games. Kathan connected on six of his nine three-point attempts in the game. Senior forward Nick Drouin (Weare, N.H.) added 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Owls took advantage of late 18-6 run to take a 44-25 halftime lead. Kathan was a one man wrecking crew, hitting seven of his 10 field goals attempts and five of his seven shots behind the arc.
The Panthers opened the second half with a 14-2 run to cut the Owls’ lead to seven points (46-39) on a three-pointer from the top of the key by sophomore guard Jason O’Keefe (Everett, Mass.) at the 14:37 mark.
KSC used the three ball to regain control of the game. Back-to-back three-pointers by senior guard Matt Hickey (Mahopac, N.Y.) put the Owls on top by 19 (67-48) with 8:10 to play. KSC was 12 of 25 (48%) from behind the arc and 14 of 16 (87.5%) from the line. A reverse lay up by Drouin extended KSC’s lead to 71-48 with 5:19 to play. KSC, which also had a wide advantage on the boards (42-26), held PSU to just four points over the last 10:01 of the game.
O’Keefe was the only PSU player in double figures, finishing with 11 points. Senior center Chris Wilkinson had nine points and six rebounds for the Panthers, who hit just four of their 21 three-point shots.
Both teams return to LEC action on Saturday, the Owls travel to Southern Maine and Plymouth State is at Eastern Conn. for 3 p.m. games.
(Courtesy of Keene State Sports Information)
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