PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Seniors Drew Coppenrath (Barnet, Vt.) and Jamaal Caterina (Portland, Maine) combined for 44 points and 17 rebounds Tuesday evening to lead the University of Southern Maine to a 76-65 victory over Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game at Foley Gymnasium.
Coppenrath tossed in a game-high 23 points and completed the double-double with a 10-rebound effort, while Caterina finished with 21 points and seven boards. Coppenrath converted 10-of-17 shots from the floor while Caterina did much of his damage from the free throw line, sinking 14-of-16 from the charity stripe. Senior Nick Gooding (Concord, Calif.) added to the Husky cause with 17 points off the bench on 8-of-10 shooting.
PSU had four players reach double figures in the scoring department. Sophomores Jason O’Keefe (Everett, Mass.) and Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) finished with 16 points apiece, and senior Chris Wilkinson (Newmarket, N.H.) and junior Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) contributed 11 points each. Chergey was hot from the inside, making eight of his 12 field goal tries.
Southern Maine raced to an early lead, scoring the first 12 points of the game and taking a 19-point advantage (23-4) before the game was eight minutes old. Plymouth State regrouped and whittled the margin down to six points (31-25) with five minutes to play in the first half, and it was a 36-27 USM margin at the intermission.
After the Huskies opened the second half with a bucket to take an 11-point lead, PSU again came back, and got to within one point (46-45) with 14 minutes to play. USM never relinquished the lead, and built it back up to double digits (63-53) with seven minutes on the clock. The Panthers got to within five points twice in the last two minutes, but could get no closer as Southern Maine made 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch.
Southern Maine won for the fifth straight game to improve to 10-9 overall and remained tied for third in the LEC at 5-3. Plymouth State suffered its fourth straight loss and fell to 4-14 and 1-7.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday with 3:00 p.m. LEC contests; Plymouth State hosts Western Connecticut and Southern Maine visits undefeated and fifth-ranked UMass Dartmouth.
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