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February 18. 2013 9:38PM

Keene State men host Plymouth State in Little East quarterfinal


 
New Hampshire's in-state Little East men's basketball rivalry between Keene State College and Plymouth State University heats up once again this evening when the Panthers travel to Keene for an LEC men's tournament quarterfinal round confrontation.

Keene, which ended its regular season with an uncharacteristic 22-point loss to Rhode Island College Saturday, sports a 14-9 overall record and is 8-4 in the Little East. That mark makes the Owls the conference's third seed.

Plymouth, meanwhile, played through a disappointing season and closed its LEC campaign with just three wins in 14 games. The Panthers are 7-18 overall.

Plymouth defeated Western Connecticut State Saturday, leaving both teams with identical conference records, but the Panthers won a coin toss after the game and were awarded the league's sixth seed.

The opening tip is slated for 7 p.m.

The Owls boast a trio of 1,000-point career scorers in their lineup. Seniors Ryan Martin, Anthony Mariano and Eric Fazio all reached the milestone this season, becoming just the second trio in KSC men's history to do so in a single season.

Keene swept the Panthers during the regular season, winning 83-62 at Plymouth and 68-62 at home.

The Owls are seeking their first LEC title since 2004 when they defeated PSU in the title game, 79-67. But the tournament road has been rocky of late for Keene as it suffered first-round double-overtime losses the past two seasons.

Plymouth's perimeter offense has relied upon the shooting of Petey Skevas and Dover's Alex Burt for much of the season. But in the Panthers' regular-season-ending triumph over WCSU, Moultonborough's Kevin Eisenburg led the way with 19 points and Manchester's Shomari Morgan tossed in 15.

Keene has won four of the five times the two rivals have met in the LEC tournament.

The Little East women's tournament also commences this evening. Keene State, the seventh seed, travels to Danbury, Conn., for a quarterfinal game against second seed Western Connecticut State, while Plymouth, the eighth seed, motors to Gorham, Maine, and a meeting with top-seeded Southern Maine.

Keene is 9-16 overall and 3-11 in the LEC. Plymouth is 1-23 and 0-14.

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