QUINCY, Mass.- Fueled by a double-double by Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.), the Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team downed Western New England 74-55 Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center. The victory propels the Lions to 9-3 overall and 4-2 against Commonwealth Coast Conference foes. The Golden Bears descend to 4-9 on the season and 3-4 in league contests.
Ezeigbo recorded a season-high 26 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to post his fourth double-double of the 2012-13 campaign. Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) and Aaron Johnson (Roslindale, Mass.) each finished with 13 points on the afternoon. Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.), Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) all chipped in with five points off the bench.
Eastern Nazarene quickly claimed a seven-point lead, 15-8, after 5:38 had elapsed in the game.
The visitors went ahead by three midway through the opening frame after a 6-0 run, 19-16.
A straight-away trey by John Cramer (Corning, N.Y.) leveled the score at 19-19 with 9:51 left to play in the half.
Ezeigbo scored the final three points of the first period as he completed a three-point play with a free throw with 48 ticks on the clock to give the Lions a 32-30 edge at halftime.
The senior totaled 13 points in the opening 20 minutes on 5-of-6 shooting from the floor and 3-of-4 from the charity stripe. Johnson contributed with 11 first-half points while Owens racked up five.
The home team drained 36.4% of its field-goal attempts in the first stanza while nailing 5-of-18 from beyond the arc. Western New England shot 51.9% from the field in the opening half but was held to 1-of-7 shooting from long range.
The Golden Bears started the second stanza on a 7-3 run to capture a 37-35 lead.
Eastern Nazarene tied the game on an uncontested lay-up by Ezeigbo as quick passing led to the easy bucket. On the Lions' ensuing possession, Owens put the hosts on top by two with a running floater in the lane with 14:24 left to play.
The two baskets by Ezeigbo and Owens ignited an 11-2 run by Eastern Nazarene to grab a 48-39 advantage.
The Lions stretched the margin to 20 with 1:05 remaining in the contest as Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) buried his only bucket of the day, a three-pointer from the top of the key.
Eastern Nazarene finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 45.9% to compliment 33.3% shooting from long distance. Western New England connected on 41.1% of its field-goal bids in the contest and was limited to a pair of treys.
The Lions will look to extend their winning-streak to four games with a conference tilt at the University of New England January 15.