PLYMOUTH, N.H. – Seniors Alex Finn (Ashby, Mass.) and Jeremi Taitt (Boston, Mass.) combined to score 47 points off the bench Thursday evening to lead Salem State College to a 99-92 victory over Plymouth State University in a non-conference men’s basketball game at Foley Gymnasium.
Plymouth State had two players combine for 43 points, sophomores Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.) with 23 and Jason O’Keefe (Everett, Mass.) with 20. But Salem State never trailed in the game and held off a late Panther rally to clinch the victory. The Vikings improve to 3-1, while the Panthers fall to 3-2.
It was a close game for most of the first half, and Salem State led by just a point (29-28) with six and a half minutes to play. But the Vikings went on a 21-2 run over the next four minutes to pull ahead by 20 points with two minutes on the clock. PSU regrouped and outscored the Vikings 16-4 over the final two minutes to pull to within eight points at the break (54-46).
The Vikings maintained a double-digit lead much of the second half, but PSU would not go away. SSC had its largest lead of the second half, 18 points (80-62) with nine minutes to play, only to see the Panthers whittle the margin down to five points (87-82) with just under three minutes to go. PSU got to within five three more times down the stretch, but Salem State withstood the Panther rally and held on for the win.
Taitt converted 9-of-13 from the field for the Vikings while also collecting eight rebounds, and Finn made 7-of-10 field goal attempts, including 3-of-5 from three-point range. Junior Dylan Holmes (Groton, Mass.) added a double-double for the visitors, recording 13 points and 12 boards, while senior Marquis Victor (Lawrence, Mass.) contributed 12 points.
Chergey made 9-of-12 from the floor for the Panthers, while O’Keefe connected on 9-of-21, including 4-of-11 from three-point range. Junior Ben Huntington (Hampstead, N.H.) added 19 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Plymouth State opens Little East Conference play this Saturday at Foley Gymnasium, hosting Eastern Connecticut at 3:00 p.m. Salem State is back in action on Saturday, visiting Wheelock College for a 2:00 p.m. tip-off.
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