BIDDEFORD, Maine- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team matched a season-long winning-streak with its fourth-consecutive victory Tuesday evening, downing the University of New England 61-55. The result escalates the Lions to 10-3 on the season and 5-2 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Nor'easters slide to 2-12 overall and 1-6 in the league with the loss.
Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) netted 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Eastern Nazarene. Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) contributed with 12 points and four boards on the night. Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) finished with eight points and seven assists while Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) added seven points off the bench.
Eastern Nazarene kicked off the game with eight consecutive points to take an early 8-0 lead.
The University of New England responded with four points to cut the deficit in half, 8-4. The Nor'easters sliced the visitors' advantage to one, 9-8, with 11:39 remaining in the first period.
The hosts knotted the score at 19-19 with3:42 remaining in the half as Connor Draleau nailed his second-straight trey.
Eastern Nazarene tacked on the final eight points of the first frame to carry a 27-19 lead into the halftime break.
Ezeigbo netted eight first-half points and four boards for the Lions and McCoy tallied seven points. Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) recorded three points in the first frame as he nailed one of the visitors' two made three-pointers.
Eastern Nazarene shot 31.2% from the floor in the first period and 16.7% from beyond the arc. The Nor'easters headed into the locker room sporting a field-goal percentage of 38.1% to go with 33.3% shooting from three-point distance.
The Lions pushed their lead to 12 points in the opening stages of the second period, 31-19.
The University of New England chipped away at the visiting team's advantage and narrowed the gap to one point with 6:54 remaining as Joshua Butler made a lay-up, 45-44.
McCoy extended the margin to four on Eastern Nazarene's next possession with a trey, 48-44.
The hosts trimmed the deficit to 54-53 in the final minute of action as Charles Fenner III knocked down his lone basket of the night.
Justin Wagner sank four free throws and Ezeigbo converted two in the final 30 seconds to seal the Lions' 10th victory of the 2012-13 campaign.
Eastern Nazarene finished with a field-goal percentage of 37.9% despite shooting just 3-of-22 from downtown. The Nor'easters connected on 37.5% of their shot attempts in the game and 26.3% of their chances from three-point land.
Up next, the Lions will remain on the road as they visit league-leading Curry January 17.