|Junior James Long added 10 points and seven rebounds to the Tufts effort
MEDFORD - Seniors Ryan Lambert (Derry, NH) and Tom Dowd (Portsmouth, NH) both scored 25 points as the visiting Plymouth State University Panthers overcame an early 18-point deficit and went on to an 87-81 victory at Tufts on Tuesday night at Cousens Gym.
The host Jumbos (3-4) led by 18 twice in the first half, including 36-18 with 5:48 remaining until intermission following a pair of free throws by junior guard Amauris Quezada (New York, NY). Quezada's 12 points led nine Tufts scorers who helped the Jumbos build that early margin.
Plymouth (4-3), however, finished the half with a 22-7 advantage to cut the Tufts lead all the way down to three (43-40) at the break. Dowd's seven points led the charge, and he finished the first half with 12. Lambert had 14 for PSU at the half, and Tufts' Quezada led all scorers with 15. Both teams made more than they missed in the half, with Plymouth shooting 15 for 28 (53.6 percent) and Tufts at 15 for 29 (51.7 percent).
The Panthers, who hadn't led since a 4-2 score, went ahead 46-45 on Dowd's jumper with 18:25 on the clock in the second half. They would not reliquish the lead, and pushed it all the way to 11 points (60-49) with a 10-2 spurt capped by Lambert's fast-break lay-up at 14:50.
The momentum switched to the Jumbos over the next five minutes, during which they outscored Plymouth 14-4. The Jumbos were behind just 64-63 at 9:46. Sophomore Scott Anderson (Sudbury, MA) had eight of the points, including six at the line.
Plymouth regained control though with an 8-0 stretch that was started by a traditional three-point play from junior Brian Chergey (Bow, NH). The Panthers maintained a lead of at least two possessions until the final minute. The Jumbos chipped away and Anderson's lay-up with 51 seconds remaining pulled them within 80-77. A Tufts foul with 46 seconds to go led to two free throws by Plymouth senior Ian Dempsey (Andover, MA) and an 82-77 score. Though Plymouth left the door open with spotty free throw shooting in the final minute, the Jumbos were unable to capitalize on it.
The Panthers finished at 58.8 percent shooting (30/51) after a 15 for 23 (65.2 percent) second half. Lambert added 12 rebounds and seven assists to his 25 points for a magnificent game. Dempsey and Chergey both scored 15 for the visitors, who also got four steals from senior Matt Feehan (Nashua, NH).
Quezada's 21 points and six steals led Tufts, who was 0 for 10 from three-point land in the second half. Anderson recorded 20 points with eight rebounds, while junior tri-captain James Long (Norwell, MA) had 10 points and seven boards. Tufts won the rebound battle 41-28.
Both teams play again on Thursday. Tufts is at UMass Dartmouth for a 7 pm tilt and PSU plays at Lyndon State beginning at 7:30 pm.