DUDLEY, Mass.- Senior Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) scored a late basket and free throw to lift the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball to a 71-69 win over CCC frontrunner Nichols Wednesday evening in a thrilling matchup.
The Lions improve to 7-7 on the year and 4-3 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the victory. The Bison drop to 11-3 on the year and 6-1 in league play with the loss.
Doran notched a double-double, finishing with 23 points and 12 rebounds on the night. Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) also poured in 23 points while adding four boards, four steals, four assists, and two blocks. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) chipped in with nine points and five rebounds. Anthony Petrilli (Santa Clarita, Calif.) posted seven points, seven boards, and six assists.
The home team took control of the lead early on, taking a 15-8 edge on a trey by DeAnte Bruton with 15:05 remaining in the first half.
Nichols widened the gap to 10 points with 8:40 to go in the opening frame as Bruton banked in a layup, 15-25.
Eastern Nazarene trimmed the deficit to 34-31 on a lay-in by Doran with less than one minute left to play in the first half.
The Bison clung to a 36-31 advantage at the halftime intermission.
The Lions with a 7-2 run to level the score at 38-38 less than two minutes into the second stanza.
Nichols reclaimed a double-digit lead with 15:11 remaining on a layup by Bruton, 50-40.
The visitors clawed back and cut the margin to three with 2:11 to go in regulation as Lynch converted two free throws, 68-65.
After Bruton made the front-end of two chances from the stripe to give the hosts a four-point lead, Rice splashed a pivotal three-pointer to pull Eastern Nazarene to within a point with under a minute on the clock, 69-68.
On the Bison's ensuing possession, stifling defense by Patrick Michel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) forced a turnover with 28 seconds left to play.
Out of a timeout, the Lions seized their first lead of the game as Petrilli bounced a pass to Doran on a back-door cut to the rim. Doran powered in the layup and drew the foul to make it a three-point play as he knocked down the free throw.
Nichols' Marcos Echevarria's last-second trey was off the mark as Eastern Nazarene snapped the Bison's nine-game winning-streak with a 71-69 decision.
The Lions shot 41.3% from the floor and 33.3% from beyond the arc in the contest. The Bison finished with a field-goal percentage of 40.0% to go with 25.0% shooting from the perimeter.
Bruton paced the home side with a game-high 30 points while Echevarria netted 15 points.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene travels to Western New England January 14.