POULTNEY, Vt. – Green Mountain College scratched and clawed its way back from an 18 point deficit to get close late, but was unable to get past Plymouth State University as the men's basketball team closed out the 2017 portion of the schedule with a 63-60 loss to the Panthers in non-conference play on Thursday night at the Eagle Dome.
Green Mountain (4-6) appeared to have kick started its offense in the early going as the Eagles opened the game on a 5-0 run thanks to a three-pointer by Alex Sanchez and a put back dunk by Matt Hess.
After Plymouth St. (5-4) responded with a trey of its own from Mike Osgood to make it 5-3, the teams didn't score again for nearly four minutes. The teams battled back and forth from there sharing the lead until the Panthers went on a 10 run capped by a Kieran Beck layup to gain a 33-20 lead with just 30 clicks on the clock in the opening half. Jacob Plum would hit two free throws right before the half to send the Eagles into halftime down 33-22.
Jaylen Leroy led the Panthers with 17 first half points, while Plum's six points led the Eagles.
Plymouth scored the first seven points out of the half to take a commanding 40-22 lead before the Eagles turned to Duane Goodman, Jr. to help them get back in the contest. The freshman sunk nine consecutive points to help cut the deficit to 40-31 at the 14:52 mark.
Undeterred, the visitors continued to make baskets and strengthen its lead to 53-38 with 9:56 remaining in the game forcing the Eagles into a timeout. Several times the home siders got the lead down to ten, but each time saw Plymouth push it back up to into the teens.
It wasn't until there was less than three minutes left when the Eagles were able to string together enough points to start to make some inroads on the large deficit. Sanchez hit on another triple and Hess' work on the boards provided a tip in bucket. Add in a De Shaun Carr layup and the Eagles had trimmed the lead to 59-52 with 3:13 remaining.
After Beck made another couple of free throws to put the game at 61-52 at the 1:21 mark, GMC put together an 8-2 run capped by a layup by Terrell Johnson to give themselves a shot at tying the game late, trailing just 63-60 with less than 15 seconds on the clock. The Eagles had a few shots to tie the game, but ultimately were unsuccessful as the Panthers held on for the win.
Leroy led all scorers with 25 points while Osgood notched 15 points and six rebounds. Liam Densmore led the reserves with eight points while Roggenbuck had a team-high seven boards.
Goodman Jr. was the high scorer for the Eagles with 17 points, while Sanchez and Hess tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively. Hess also cleaned up on the glass hauling in a career-high 16 rebounds to give him his third double-double of the season.
Green Mountain will reconvene after the holiday break as it starts the New Year on the road against Johnson State College at 3 p.m. Plymouth St. will close out its first half schedule against the same Johnson squad on Saturday with tip off time set for 3 p.m.