QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team fell to Dean 78-73 Thursday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
The Lions drop to 3-5 on the year with the result while the Bulldogs improve to 5-3 overall.
Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) netted a team-best 21 points on the night. Brenndan Rogers (Hanson, Mass.) poured in 13 points off the bench. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) notched 11 points, four assists, three rebounds, and a pair of steals. Trey'von Davis (Moore, S.C.) hauled in a game-high 10 boards and added eight points.
After falling behind 4-0 early in the contest, the home team battled back to claim a one-point edge, 7-6, on a three-pointer by Rice with 15:19 left to play in the first frame.
The visitors forged ahead 18-11 with 11:36 remaining in the opening period as Kendall Hamilton drained a trey.
Eastern Nazarene clawed back to seize a 33-32 advantage with 2:33 to go in the first half as Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) nailed a three-pointer from the right corner.
Rogers splashed a three-pointer just before the halftime horn to give the Lions a 43-36 lead at the break.
Eastern Nazarene shot 51.5% from the floor and 45.5% from beyond the arc in the opening frame. Dean posted a field-goal percentage of 46.9% in the first half to go with 2-for-10 shooting from three-point range.
Rice paced the home side with 12 points while Rogers chipped in 10 points in the first half.
The Bulldogs reclaimed the lead with 10:53 left to play in regulation on a pair of free throws by Josh Croskey, 50-49.
Dean widened the gap to five points on a basket by Jordan Booker with 3:48 remaining in the game, 66-61.
The Lions chipped away at the deficit and snagged a one-point edge with 1:44 to go as Andrew Mitchell (Campobello, S.C.) converted a pair at the charity stripe, 71-70.
The guests rattled off six unanswered points to restore their lead to five, 76-71, with 27 seconds on the clock.
Eastern Nazarene trimmed the margin to 76-73 with 19 seconds left to play as Waldroop spun in a layup while falling to the ground.
Dayvon Russell made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to seal the victory for the Bulldogs.
The Lions concluded the contest with a field-goal percentage of 41.5% while sinking 9-of-25 attempts from behind the arc. Dean shot 48.3% on the evening and 29.4% from long distance.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene heads to UMass-Boston December 14 for a non-conference matchup.