Men’s Hoops Edges University of New England in First League Contest, 69-61

Men’s Hoops Edges University of New England in First League Contest, 69-61

QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team outlasted the University of New England 69-61 Wednesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center to clinch its sixth-consecutive win.

The victory elevates the Lions to 6-0 on the season and 1-0 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Nor'easters slide to 0-6 overall and 0-1 in league play with the loss.

Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) paced the hosts with 21 points, five assists and four rebounds.  Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) contributed with 12 points and three boards in the game. Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with 11 points and four steals. Lequan Gomes (Fairfield, Calif.) and Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) each netted six points in the win while Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) added a team-high five rebounds and four points.

The visitors started the game with a 16-1 run in the opening 5:35 of action.

Eastern Nazarene cut the deficit to five points with 9:43 left to play in the first period, 21-16, as Zach Tonello (Bourne, Mass.) drained a three-pointer from the left wing.

The Lions pulled to within one, 25-24, with 4:55 remaining in the half as Christian Lynch knocked down his lone trey of the night.

Eric Lynch scored the final five points of the opening frame for the home team, capping off the half with a pair of free throws with 1.5 seconds on the clock to level the score at 32-32 at the break.

Eric Lynch and Owens each registered eight first-half points for the Lions. Gomes added six points off the bench in the first frame for the home side while Christian Lynch tallied five points.

Eastern Nazarene shot 37.0% from the floor and 25.0% from beyond the arc in the first frame. The University of New England connected on 42.9% of its first-half field-goal attempts, including 44.4% from three-point range.

The Lions scored seven unanswered points to begin the second stanza and widened the gap to eight, 45-37, with 14:20 remaining in regulation as Dylan Saenz (Port Lavaca, Texas) banked in a lay-up.

The Nor'easters cut the deficit to three with 10:56 left to play on a lay-in by Russ Daly, 45-42.

On Eastern Nazarene's ensuing possession, Jarman maneuvered his way through the lane to drop in a smooth finger-roll to restore the lead to five.

The visitors once again pulled to within three as Devin Thompson nailed a three-pointer with 6:42 remaining, 55-52.

Justin Wagner converted a pair from the charity stripe to push the Lions' advantage to five, 57-52, with 4:27 on the clock.

The University of New England tied the score at 57-57 with 2:22 left to play as Thompson knocked down a trey and Brayden Morse made a lay-up.

Eastern Nazarene answered with eight consecutive points, including six free throws, to reclaim the lead with 39 seconds to go.

The Lions added a pair of free throws by Owens and Saenz each in the final 26 seconds of play to hold on to seal the win.

Thompson led the Nor'easters with 17 points while Kurt Steiner chipped in with 12 points off the bench. Morse posted a double-double with 11 points and 11 boards for the visitors.

Eastern Nazarene finished the game with a field-goal percentage of 40.4% to go with 27.8% shooting from downtown. The University of New England shot 41.1% from the floor in the contest, including 38.1% from three-point distance.

Up next, the Lions will look to extend their winning-streak to seven games as they visit Endicott December 7.