HENNIKER, N.H.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team captured its first victory of the 2012-13 campaign Saturday afternoon, rolling past New England College 104-73 in the consolation game of the New England College Tip-Off Tournament.
The win elevates the Lions to 1-1 on the year while the Pilgrims sink to 0-2 overall with the result.
This marks the first time that Eastern Nazarene eclipsed the century mark in a game since the 1996-97 season when the "Crusaders" downed Roger Williams 109-92 in overtime.
Senior Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) scored a game-high 21 points for the Lions while grabbing four rebounds. Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) added 13 points and Alex Jarman (Tiverton, R.I.) totaled 12 points while both players controlled seven rebounds. Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla) chipped in with 10 points and Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) finished with nine. Max Barbosa (Dorchester, Mass.) handed out a team-best eight assists in the contest.
Eastern Nazarene ran off an 11-1 clip to start the game with a 10-point lead 2:38 after the opening tip.
New England College rattled off six-straight points to draw to within five, 18-13, with under 12 minutes remaining in the half.
The Lions responded with seven unanswered points to stretch the margin to 12, 25-13, with 10 minutes on the clock. The visitors used a 10-o run to extend their lead to 37-18 heading into the final five minutes of the opening frame.
Eastern Nazarene went into the halftime break ahead by 20 points, 51-31.
The Lions were led by Hard and Owens with nine points each in the first half. Ezeigbo, Jarman, Justin Wagner and Jeremy Wagner all tallied six points in the opening 20 minutes of play. Hard, Jarman and Jeremy Wagner all grabbed a team-high five rebounds in the half.
Eastern Nazarene connected on 19-of-31 field-goal attempts in the first period to sport a field-goal percentage of 61.3% to go with 55.6% shooting from long distance.
The Pilgrims shot 46.2% from the floor in the first half and just 27.3% from behind the arc. Jonathan Byrnes led the hosts with 10 first-half points and three boards.
The Lions went on a 12-4 run to move ahead 66-40 with 15:45 remaining in regulation.
Seven-consecutive points by New England College cut the deficit to 20, 69-49, with 13 minutes left to play.
The visitors forged further ahead with seven-straight points to stretch the lead to 28, 84-56, with less than 10 minutes remaining.
The Lions amassed the 100-point plateau with 3:12 showing on the clock as Jarman banked in a lay-up off of a feed from Justin Wagner.
Eastern Nazarene finished the game with a 57.4% field-goal percentage while draining half of its three-point bids on the day. The Lions converted 26-of-31 attempts from the free throw stripe in the contest.
Up next, the Lions visit Suffolk November 20th for a non-conference matchup at 7:30 pm before hosting Wheelock November 21 in the home-opener at 5 pm.