PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Senior Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) converted a lay-up with 2.6 seconds remaining Saturday afternoon, and Plymouth State University held on to defeat Eastern Connecticut State University, 52-51, in a Little East Conference men’s basketball game at Foley Gymnasium.
The Panthers pulled out the win despite surrendering a 12-point lead in the final eight minutes. The Warriors battled back from down 12 to take a one-point lead (51-50) with two minutes remaining; only to have Walcek hit the winning shot in the final seconds. PSU picks up its first LEC win of the season, improving to 8-8 overall and 1-4 in the league, while Eastern drops to 9-5 overall and 3-2 in conference play.
Walcek finished with 13 points for the Panthers, while senior Devin Ruocco (Dover, N.H.) led the team with 17 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) added 10 points to the cause.
Eastern got a game-high 18 points and eight boards from junior Leon Martin (Woodbury, Conn.) and 11 points from freshman Edwin Ortiz (Hartford, Conn.)
Plymouth State shot 52 percent in the opening half while holding the visitors to a 29 percent clip, giving the Panthers a 31-21 margin at halftime. PSU went cold in the second half, connecting at just a 27 percent rate, while Eastern heated up, knocking down 58 percent after the break.
The Panthers led 48-36 with less than nine minutes remaining, when Eastern outscored PSU 13-2 over the next six minutes. Martin canned a pair of free throws for ECSU with 2:09 on the clock, putting the visitors ahead 51-50. Both teams had opportunities in the final two minutes, but neither could convert until Walcek’s running lay-up that won it.
PSU plays a pair of LEC road games this week, Tuesday at Southern Maine (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday at Western Connecticut (3:00 p.m.) ECSU is back in action Tuesday with a visit to Keene State (7:30 p.m.)
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