WORCESTER, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team suffered an 88-72 setback at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Friday afternoon in the final non-conference contest of the season.
The Lions slip to 4-6 on the year with the result while the Engineers, who are receiving votes in the D3Hoops.com National Poll, improve to 9-2 overall.
Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) and Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) both poured in 20 points to lead the visitors. Lynch also registered a team-high seven rebounds, five assists, and two steals on the day. Anthony Petrilli (Santa Clarita, Calif.) splashed three treys to finish with nine points.
After falling behind by four early on, Eastern Nazarene responded with three-pointers by Petrilli and Patrick Michel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) to grab a 12-10 edge five minutes into the game.
WPI utilized a 15-0 run to establish a 32-23 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first half.
The home side stretched its advantage to 11 points with 3:36 left in the period on a three-pointer by Sean Doncaster, 40-29.
The Lions cut the deficit to seven, 40-33, with 1:44 on the clock as Lynch tossed in a layup.
The Engineers sported a 42-33 lead at the halftime intermission after Connor Willgress converted two free throws in the final seconds of the half.
Eastern Nazarene boasted a field-goal percentage of 55.6% at the midway point of the game. WPI shot 47.2% from the floor in the opening frame.
The hosts widened the gap to 16 points with 14:06 remaining as Aaron Todd sank two free throws, 57-41.
The Lions trimmed the margin to eight with 10:39 left to play, 59-51, on a bucket by Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.).
The Engineers answered with 11 consecutive points to push their lead to 70-51 with 8:40 to go.
WPI maintained a double-digit lead for the remainder of the contest as it collected its fourth win in a row.
The Lions shot 56.1% from the floor on the afternoon and 35.3% from beyond the arc. The Engineers finished with a field-goal percentage of 45.9% in the contest to go with 39.1% shooting from the perimeter.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene returns to conference play with a home game against Roger Williams January 3.