QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team posted a 73-52 victory over Salve Regina Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center. The result elevates the Lions to 7-3 on the season and 2-2 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Seahawks sink to 6-5 overall and 2-2 in conference play with the loss.
Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) led the home side with 13 points and seven rebounds. Aaron Johnson (Roslindale, Mass.) contributed with 12 points and a game-high five assists. Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) finished with 10 points and four assists while Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) added 10 points and seven boards off the bench.
Isiah Pringle tallied a game-best 15 points for the visitors and Joshua Hohlfelder chipped in with 10 points.
The Lions scored the first eight points of the contest, including a thunderous dunk by Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) in the opening minute of play to ignite a roar in the crowd.
Eastern Nazarene claimed its first double-figure lead of the night, 21-11, with 8:33 remaining in the first half as Johnson knocked down one of his four treys.
The Lions largest lead of the opening period came with 4:15 showing on the clock. Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) banked in his only basket of the game to push the hosts ahead 28-13.
Eastern Nazarene headed into the locker room at halftime sporting a 31-18 advantage.
The Lions were led by Owens and Johnson at the break with six points each. Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) netted five first-half points while Hard grabbed five rebounds in the opening period.
The hosts shot 48% from the floor and 5-of-10 from long range in the first frame. The visitors drained 7-of-27 field-goal attempts and 4-of-9 from beyond the arc.
Salve Regina opened the second stanza on an 20-8 run to cut Eastern Nazarene's lead to one, 39-38.
The Lions bounced back with back-to-back buckets to grab a five-point edge.
A 9-2 run restored Eastern Nazarene's advantage to 11, 52-41, with 9:29 remaining in the contest.
Following a jumper by the Seahawks to slice the lead to eight with 6:22 left to play, the Lions tallied 12 unanswered points to own a 20-point margin. The home team's defense prevented Salve Regina from making a bucket for 4:09 before Joshua Fuhrmeister broke the scoreless streak with a three-pointer with 2:13 left to go.
Eastern Nazarene buried 44.8% of its field-goal chances while nailing 40.9% of its attempts from behind the arc. The Seahawks shot 32.8% from the floor and 30.4% from three-point land on the night.
Up next, the Lions will visit Nichols January 10 for a Commonwealth Coast Conference matchup.