PRESQUE ISLE, Maine- A late surge carried the Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team to a resilient 70-68 non-league victory at the University of Maine-Presque Isle Monday afternoon. The Lions escalate to 13-3 overall as their winning-streak reaches seven games. The Owls slip to 8-10 on the season with the loss.
Rookie Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) set a new career-best with 17 points while adding seven rebounds. Freshman Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) recorded his first collegiate double-double with 15 points and a career-high 10 boards.
Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) and Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) each finished with nine points in the game. Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) netted eight points and snagged six rebounds in his first collegiate start while Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) chipped in with five points.
The hosts tallied the first six points of the game to grab a 6-0 lead early on.
Hard converted a pair of free throws with 15:41 on the clock to draw the Lions even at 10-10.
Eastern Nazarene claimed its first lead of the day with 8:43 remaining in the half as Lynch knocked down a jumper, 22-20.
Presque Isle utilized an 11-0 run to restore its lead to 33-36 with two minutes left to play in the opening frame.
The Lions headed into the locker room trailing by four, 35-31.
Lynch led the visitors with seven first-half points and four rebounds. Owens netted six points, grabbed four boards and registered a pair of steals in the opening 20 minutes. Hard scored five points while John Cramer (Corning, N.Y.), Jarman and McCoy all netted three in the half.
Eastern Nazarene shot 31.2% from the floor, draining 10 made field goals on 32 chances. The visitors connected on five three-pointers in the first frame.
Presque Isle owned a field-goal percentage of 50.0% at the break while sinking just 1-of-9 attempts from downtown.
The Owls padded their edge to 10 points with 12:52 remaining in the second half as Patrick Manifold sank a pair of free throws.
The home side elevated its lead to 11 as Claude Louis knocked down two free throws with 9:14 left to play.
The Lions chipped away at the deficit to cut the Owls' lead to 64-63 as Lynch sank a free throw with 2:28 on the clock.
Eastern Nazarene evened the score at 66-66 with 1:13 remaining as Justin Wagner nailed a trey from the right wing.
The visitors seized a 68-66 lead in the final minute of play as Owens corralled a steal on the hosts' ensuing possession and fed McCoy for a fast-break layup.
After the Lions hauled in back-to-back offensive rebounds, Justin Wagner went to the charity stripe to add to the lead. The rookie made the second shot to lengthen the gap to three, 69-68, with 19 ticks left on the clock.
Presque-Isle responded with two points to trim the deficit to one, 69-68, with six seconds remaining as Jayson Burke tipped in a missed three-pointer by Brad Trask.
McCoy drained the first of two free throws in the waning seconds to secure the victory.
Eastern Nazarene finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 35.4% and a three-point percentage of 25.8%. The Owls connected on 42.3% of their shot attempts in the contest after shooting 34.6% in the second half.
The visitors owned a narrow 42-39 edge in rebounding on the day, including a 17-9 margin on the offensive glass.
Up next, the Lions will resume league action January 23 with a road contest at Roger Williams. Eastern Nazarene sits in second place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with a 7-2 record. Earlier this season, the Lions toppled the Hawks 74-45 at home.