QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team dropped a tight 79-76 decision to league-leading Nichols Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions move to 6-9 on the year and 2-6 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the setback. The Bison improve to 13-2 overall and remain atop the league standings with a 7-1 mark.
Rookie Trey'von Davis (Moore, S.C.) posted his first collegiate double-double with 22 points and 13 rebounds in the game. Brenndan Rogers (Hanson, Mass.) poured in 14 points off the bench. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) and Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) both finished with 12 points.
The two squads traded the first 10 buckets of the contest before the visitors established a 19-10 lead with 11:12 remaining in the first half.
Nichols widened the margin to double-digits with 8:16 left to play in the opening frame, 24-14, on a three-pointer by DeAnte Bruton.
Eastern Nazarene clawed back to level the score at 31-31 on a put-back dunk by Davis with 1:05 to go in the first period.
The Bison carried a 34-31 edge into the halftime break after Marcos Echevarria sank a trey in the final minute of the first half.
Eastern Nazarene shot 48.3% from the floor in the first half despite missing all seven attempts from beyond the arc. Nichols owned a field-goal percentage of 40% at the midway point of the game while connecting on 5-of-18 from three-point distance.
Davis paced the Lions with 15 points and seven boards at the half while Cheney and Rogers both netted six points.
The Bison regained an eight-point advantage with 17:16 remaining in regulation but the home side battled back to even the game at 45-45 as Rice splashed a three-pointer with 14:46 to go.
Eastern Nazarene jumped into the lead for the first time in the second half as Rice canned another trey with 6:46 left to play, 62-59. Nichols responded with a triple by Echevarria to tie the contest at 62-62 on its next trip down the court.
The Bison pushed their lead to eight with under two minutes to go on a layup by Jerome Cunningham, 77-69.
The Lions whittled the deficit to three with 45 seconds remaining, 77-74, as Cheney drilled a three and Rice converted two free throws.
The guests answered with a basket by Bruton to extend their lead to 79-74.
The hosts trimmed the gap to 79-76 on a late layup by Davis before Nichols dribbled out the remaining seconds of the contest to lock up its 13th win of the year.
Eastern Nazarene finished with a field-goal percentage of 54.5% on the night to go with 33.3% shooting from behind the three-point line. Nichols shot 50.8% from the floor and 34.6% from long range.
Up next, the Lions return to the hardwood January 18 to take on Endicott.