NEW LONDON, Conn.- Six different players scored in double-figures to propel the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team to a 79-71 victory at Mitchell Saturday afternoon in its first-ever New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) game.
The Lions elevate to 2-4 on the year and 1-0 in the NECC with the win. The Mariners sink to 1-3 overall and 0-1 in league action with the loss.
David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) posted a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds on the day. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) poured in 13 points and grabbed five boards. Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) finished with 12 points and six assists. Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) and Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) each tallied 11 points while Levi Grady-White (Springfield, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench.
A stellar start by the visitors established a 17-3 lead with 13:53 left to play in the first half.
The home team cut the deficit to five points, 27-22, with 6:12 to go in the opening period as Domenico Santiago knocked down a jumper.
Eastern Nazarene responded with a trey by Lopez followed by a layup by Shearman to reclaim a double-digit lead, 32-22, with five minutes remaining in the half.
The Lions controlled an 11-point advantage at the midway point of the game, 40-29.
Eastern Nazarene shot 50% from the floor in the first half and 40% from three-point distance. Mitchell posted a field-goal percentage of 39.3% in the opening frame while sinking 3-of-9 from beyond the arc.
The visitors expanded the margin to 17 points with 5:40 remaining in regulation on a bucket by Lopez, 70-53.
The hosts outscored Eastern Nazarene 18-9 in the final five minutes to narrow the gap to single-digits as the Lions sealed their first conference win of the year.
The Lions concluded the contest with a field-goal percentage of 46.9% to go with 9-for-26 shooting from behind the arc. The Mariners shot 40.3% from the floor and 33.3% from three-point range.
Steffen Brunson paced Mitchell with 19 points while Santiago notched a double-double with 15 points and 18 boards.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene continues league play on the road at Southern Vermont December 4.