BROOKLINE, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team suffered a 94-88 setback at Newbury Saturday afternoon.
The Lions slip to 12-11 on the season and 9-5 in the New England Collegiate Conference with the result. The Nighthawks climb to 8-13 overall and 5-9 in league action with the victory.
Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) scored a team-best 27 points off the bench. Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) poured in 20 points and gathered eight rebounds. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points while David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) added nine points and nine boards.
The home team strung together an 8-0 run early in the game to grab a 13-6 lead with 16:24 remaining in the first half.
The visitors battled back to level the contest at 15-15 with 13:21 left to play in the opening period as Crandell converted a pair of free throws.
Eastern Nazarene jumped ahead 23-22 on a three-ball by Cheney with 8:56 to go in the first frame.
The two teams traded control of the lead before Pierce Weatherspoon netted two free throws to give Newbury a three-point edge, 28-25, with 5:14 remaining in the half.
The Lions tied the score at 35-35 as Lopez canned a trey with 2:12 left in the opening stanza.
The Nighthawks closed out the first half with a 7-2 run to carry a 44-39 lead into the halftime break.
The guests shot 39.5% from the floor and drained 6-of-12 from behind the arc in the first 20 minutes of play. The hosts posted a field-goal percentage of 44.1% at intermission to go with 44.4% shooting from three point range.
Eastern Nazarene started the second stanza with five consecutive points to claim a slim 45-44 edge with 18:42 remaining in regulation.
Newbury netted six straight points to jump ahead 55-49 with 15:55 on the clock.
The hosts widened the margin to 60-52 with 13:56 left to play as Weatherspoon converted two free throws.
A pair of free throws and a three-pointer by Cheney trimmed the visitors' deficit to 60-57 with 12:42 to go.
The Nighthawks regained an eight-point advantage with 7:34 remaining, 71-63, on a layup by Tank Roberson.
The Lions pulled to within four with 3:44 left to play as Cheney canned a trey, 80-76.
Newbury sank 8-of-10 from the free throw stripe in the final minute to lock up a vital conference win.
The Lions shot 41.1% from the floor and 42.9% from three-point range on the day. The Nighthawks finished with a field-goal percentage of 49.2% in the contest to go with 41.2% shooting from long distance.
Omar Williams paced Newbury with a game-high 34 points. Weatherspoon added 20 points and 10 rebounds while Roberson and Tim Deng each tallied 16 points.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene travels to Dean February 13 for a key conference matchup.