QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team shot 62% from the field and 54% from behind the arc to cruise to a 104-79 victory over New England College Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions climb to 3-1 on the season with the win while the Pilgrims fall to 2-2 overall.
Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) notched his first career double-double as he poured in 29 points and hauled in 14 rebounds. Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) posted a double-double with 15 points and 10 assists to go with five boards. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) finished with 19 points while David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
After falling behind by six points early on, the home side rattled off eight consecutive points to claim an 11-9 edge with 16:42 left to play in the first half.
The visitors pulled even for the third time in the opening period with 9:57 remaining in the half as Calvin Cheek converted two free throws, 21-21.
Eastern Nazarene responded with a 9-2 run to establish a 30-23 advantage with 5:35 to go in the opening frame.
The Lions widened the gap to 15 with 2:41 on the clock, 41-26, as Rice splashed one of his three treys on the day.
Lopez powered in a layup in the waning seconds of the first half to give the hosts a 47-33 lead heading into the break.
Eastern Nazarene connected on 65.5% of its first-half attempts, including a 46.2% shooting clip from beyond the arc. New England College shot 31.3% from the floor and 37.5% from three-point range in the opening frame.
Rice paced the Lions with 15 points and seven rebounds in the first period while Cheney poured in nine points.
New England College started the second stanza with a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to 47-43 with 17:37 left to play in regulation.
Eastern Nazarene restored its lead to double-digits with 13:49 remaining on a lay-in by Cheney, 60-50.
The Pilgrims battled back to capture their first lead of the second half with 11:43 to go in the contest, 63-62, as Cheek scored back-to-back fast-break layups.
The Lions responded with a three-pointer by Waldroop followed by a layup and free throw by Luke Dagley (Weymouth, Mass.) to seize a 68-63 advantage with 10:48 left to play.
The home team extended its lead to double-figures with 7:18 on the clock as Brenndan Rogers (Hanson, Mass.) canned a three-pointer from the top of the key, 78-68.
Eastern Nazarene never relinquished its double-digit lead and outscored New England College 26-11 in the final seven minutes of action to earn its second straight victory.
The Lions shot 62.1% from the floor and drained 14-of-26 attempts from three-point distance. The Pilgrims finished with a field-goal percentage of 40.9% to go with 33.3% shooting from downtown.
Ricky Leonard and Cheek both scored 14 points to lead the visitors while Izaiah Winston-Brooks tallied 12 points and Jason Jones added 11 points.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene opens conference play November 29 at Salve Regina.