QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team captured a 77-67 victory over Becker Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions improve to 5-7 overall and 2-1 in the New England Collegiate Conference with the win. The Hawks fall to 2-9 on the year and 1-1 in conference play with the loss.
Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) netted 21 points to lead five players in double-digit scoring. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) tallied 19 points and hauled in seven rebounds. Levi Grady-White (Springfield, Mass.) posted his first collegiate double-double, finishing with 10 points and a career-high 11 boards. Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) registered 12 points while Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) added 10 points.
After the visitors seized an early five-point advantage, the hosts clawed back to snag an 8-7 edge with 14:53 left to play in the first half as Cheney completed a three-point play at the charity stripe.
Becker built up a double-figure lead with 7:28 remaining in the opening period with an 11-2 stretch, 25-15.
Eastern Nazarene closed out the first half with a 19-0 run spanning the final 5:43 of the frame. The Lions utilized the run to flip a 10-point deficit to a nine-point halftime lead, 36-27.
At the break, Eastern Nazarene boasted a field-goal percentage of 45.2% despite a 2-of-12 effort from beyond the arc. Becker shot 38.5% from the floor in the first half and 31.3% from long range.
Rice poured in 10 first-half points to lead the home team while Cheney chipped in with nine points and six rebounds.
The Lions extended their advantage to 43-32 with 15:14 on the clock as Andrew Mitchell (Campobello, S.C.) sank the second of two free throws.
The Hawks trimmed the margin to 48-45 on a fast-break layup by Jamir Carr with 10:44 left in regulation.
Eastern Nazarene reclaimed a double-digit lead with 7:17 to go as Crandell tossed in a layup, 60-49.
The Lions widened the gap to 14 points with 3:06 remaining in the contest, their largest lead of the day, on a three-ball by Cheney, 71-57.
The hosts converted 5-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to secure their second conference win of the season.
Eastern Nazarene shot 44.8% from the floor in the game and connected on 7-of-23 from three-point distance. Becker finished with a field-goal percentage of 42.9% to go with 37% shooting from beyond the arc.
Kareem Davis poured in a game-best 28 points for the guests while Carr notched 13 points.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene welcomes league-leading New England College January 8.