QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team prevailed 68-65 over second-place Wentworth after a wild finish Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions climb to 7-12 on the year and 3-9 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the win. The Leopards drop to 13-6 overall and 8-4 in league action with the setback.
Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) paced the home team with 16 points, seven assists, and five steals. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) notched 12 points while David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) chipped in with 10 points. Trey'von Davis (Moore, S.C.) finished with eight points and nine rebounds. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) recorded seven points and seven boards in the contest.
Eastern Nazarene sprinted out to a 15-7 advantage with 13:32 left to play in the first half as Waldroop chalked up seven of the team's first 15 points.
Wentworth trimmed the gap to 19-16 with 8:17 to go in the opening period on a layup by Stephen Azums.
The Lions stretched their lead to nine with 5:12 on the clock, 30-21, as Lopez powered in a layup.
The Leopards cut the deficit to 35-29 just before the halftime horn as Jason Ganley sank two free throws with seven seconds remaining.
Eastern Nazarene shot 57.7% from the floor in the first half and 41.7% from beyond the arc. Wentworth posted a field-goal percentage of 40.7% in the opening frame and connected on just 2-of-10 from three-point range.
Waldroop led the Lions with nine points in the first half while Davis and Lopez both netted eight points.
The Leopards seized their first lead of the game with 16:16 remaining in regulation on a layup by Michael Boaheng, 38-37.
After Luke Dagley (Weymouth, Mass.) splashed a three-pointer to push the hosts ahead by one, the visitors tallied a trey by Zach Bergeon and a fast-break layup by Cesar Fulcar to claim a four-point edge with 12:07 left to play.
Eastern Nazarene regained the lead with 8:11 on the clock on a steal-and-score by Waldroop, 50-49.
The Lions expanded their advantage to seven, 56-49, as Waldroop sank a jumper inside the key with 6:10 to go in the contest.
Wentworth pulled to within a pair with 4:54 left to play as Ganley banked in a layup, 56-54.
The Leopards narrowed the gap to one, 64-63, after a three-pointer and layup by Ganley with 38 seconds remaining.
The home side responded with a baseline-jumper by Lopez to widen the margin to three with 12 seconds to go in regulation.
With three seconds left in the game, Ganley was fouled shooting a three-pointer and headed to the line for a chance to level the contest. After draining the first two shots, Ganley's third attempt rattled off the rim and the Lions corralled the rebound.
Cheney sealed the victory with a pair of makes from the charity stripe with 1.2 seconds on the clock.
The Lions finished with a field-goal percentage of 51.1% on the day to go with 38.1% shooting from downtown. The Leopards shot 44.2% from the floor in the game and just 25% from behind the arc.
Wenworth was led by Ganley with 26 points while Azums added 12 points.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene treks north to battle the University of New England January 30.