QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team suffered an 81-78 loss to Wentworth Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center in the Commonwealth Coast Conference quarterfinals.
The Lions slip to 19-6 on the year with the decision. The seventh-seeded Leopards improve to 12-14 overall and advance to the semifinals to face third-seeded Gordon.
Sophomore Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) led all scorers with 26 points on the night while adding six assists and four steals. Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals. Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) also registered 14 points while grabbing three boards.
Senior Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) tallied seven points to the lead Eastern Nazarene's reserves. Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) recorded six points and six rebounds while Lequan Gomes (Fairfield, Calif.) contributed six points and five boards.
Owens drained back-to-back triples to give the home side an 8-6 edge with 16:40 left to play.
After five consecutive points by Wentworth's Jherson Colon, Owens once again sank a three-pointer to level the game at 13-13 with 13:57 remaining in the half.
The Lions established a five-point advantage with 9:39 on the clock as Hard drilled a trey from the left corner, 26-21.
The Leopards battled back to even the contest at 29-29, the seventh tie score of the first half, on a lay-up by Derek Mayo with 7:12 left to play.
A lay-in by Eric Lynch with less than four minutes remaining in the period knotted the score for the ninth time on the evening, 34-34.
Wentworth responded with five straight points to grab a 39-34 edge with three minutes to go in the half.
Eastern Nazarene answered with jumpers by Owens and Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) to cut the deficit to 39-38 with less than a minute remaining.
In the final seconds of the opening frame, Ian Therriault dished the ball to Ray Bessette for a fast-break lay-in to give the visitors a 41-38 halftime lead.
Owens led the Lions with 17 first-half points and three assists. Hard poured in seven points in the first period while Eric Lynch added four points.
Eastern Nazarene shot 50% from the floor and 45.5% from outside the three-point arc in the opening half. Wentworth sported a field-goal percentage of 55.2% at intermission to go with 45.5% shooting from long distance.
The hosts chalked up the first six points of the second half to go ahead 44-41.
The visitors halted the 6-0 run with a three-pointer by Colon to tie the game at 44-44.
After Owens converted a pair of free throws to level the score for the 12th time and give Eastern Nazarene a one-point edge, Wentworth netted two buckets in a row to claim a 53-50 lead with 13:20 remaining.
The Leopards extended the margin to 10 with 6:23 left to play as Mayo nailed a trey to cap off a 7-0 run, 66-56. The visitors stretched their advantage to 12 points, the largest lead of the contest, with 5:32 to go as Colon banked in a lay-up, 70-58.
The Lions clawed back to narrow the deficit to one, 73-72, with one minute left to play. The hosts utilized a 9-0 run spanning 2:16 to close the gap.
Wentworth restored its lead to five points with 30 seconds to go as Mayo and Colon each scored lay-ups, 77-72.
Justin Wagner knocked down a straight-away three-pointer on Eastern Nazarene's next possession to pull to within two with 25 seconds to play, 77-75.
The Leopards padded their advantage with a pair of free throws by Colon with 12 seconds on the clock, 79-75.
On the Lions' ensuing possession, Owens completed a three-point play at the charity stripe after drawing a foul while driving to the basket for a lay-in with six seconds remaining.
The visitors increased the margin to three on their next possession, converting two free throws to push the score to 81-78.
A last-second heave from beyond the arc by Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) fell just short as Wentworth escaped with a stunning 81-78 win.
Eastern Nazarene finished with a field-goal percentage of 49.2% and shot 33.3% from behind the arc. Wentworth connected on 50.8% of its shot attempts in the game, including 42.1% from three-point range.
Colon led the Leopards with 25 points while Mayo posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds in the victory.