CAMBRIDGE, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team endured a 66-64 loss at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Saturday afternoon.
The Lions slide to 0-3 on the year with the result while the Engineers, who are receiving votes in the NABC National Preseason Poll, improve to 1-2 overall.
Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) poured in a team-best 17 points and hauled in four rebounds. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) netted a season-high 13 points off the bench. Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) chipped in with seven points while Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) and Christian Garcia (Miami, Fla.) scored six points each. Fred Smith (Dorchester, Mass.) gathered a team-high seven rebounds and added six points.
The visitors seized an early 5-0 edge as Shearman drained a three-pointer before Crandell tossed in a layup less than two minutes into the game.
The home team strung together a 19-0 run to construct a 22-7 lead with 10:05 left to play in the first half.
Eastern Nazarene cut the deficit to 40-31 as Crandell completed a three-point play from the free throw line with 37 seconds remaining in the opening stanza before Grant Miller's layup in the waning seconds of the period gave MIT a 42-31 halftime advantage.
The Lions chipped away at the gap and pulled even at 51-51 on a layup by Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) with 8:25 on the clock.
The Engineers responded with five unanswered points to control a 56-51 lead with 5:57 to go in regulation.
Eastern Nazarene battled back to tie the game at 59-59 with 1:40 left to play on a bucket by Smith.
After a three-point play by MIT's Dan Pilsbury, Crandell splashed a trey with under a minute to go in the second half to level the contest at 62-62.
The hosts gained a 65-62 edge with six seconds to go in regulation on free throws by Alex Cho and Pilsbury.
The guests trimmed the margin to one point, 65-64, as Shearman sank two free throws with five seconds on the clock.
After MIT tacked on a free throw to push its advantage to two points, the Engineers escaped with the narrow victory as Waldroop's last-second three-point effort was off the mark.
The Lions concluded the contest with a field-goal percentage of 42% to go with a 38.9% success-rate from three-point territory. The Engineers shot 47.9% from the floor on the day and 52.6% from beyond the arc.
Cho paced MIT with a game-high 33 points and Pilsbury tallied 11 points with seven rebounds.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene returns to the Lahue Physical Education Center to take on Endicott November 19.