QUINCY, Mass.- In the first home contest of the 2012-13 slate, the Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team prevailed 87-62 over Wheelock Wednesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center. The Lions improved to 3-1 overall with the win, the program's best start since the 1996-97 season. The loss drops the Wildcats to 0-1 on the year.
Eastern Nazarene was led by Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) with 20 points and four rebounds on 10-of-13 shooting. Rookie Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) poured in 12 points off the bench and grabbed four boards. Nick Formaro (Alpharetta, Ga.) finished with eight points after draining a team-best two three-pointers on the night. John Cramer (Corning, N.Y.) and Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) each posted seven points while Max Barbosa (Dorchester, Mass.), Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) and Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) all scored five.
The Lions opened up a 10-6 margin early on in the game before Wheelock rallied to tie the score at 14 with just under 15 minutes remaining in the half.
A trey by Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) sparked a 12-0 run by the hosts as they grabbed a 38-23 advantage with 3:55 left to play in the opening frame.
The hosts clasped to a 20-point spread at the intermission after shooting 52.5% from the floor through 20 minutes of play.
Ezeigbo paced all scorers at the break with 14 points and added four boards. Jarman chipped in with six points off the bench while Hard, Barbosa and McCoy all tallied five in the opening half.
Eastern Nazarene maintained a sizeable edge throughout the second stanza. The Lions' largest lead came with 4:43 on the clock in the second half as John Cramer knocked down a three-pointer to stretch the margin to 31, 81-50.
The home side drained 56.1% of its field-goal attempts in the contest including 57.1% from three-point land. The Wildcats shot 38.9% from the floor in their season-opener and 36.8% from long distance.
Wheelock was paced by Bashir Hudson with 18 points and seven rebounds. Paul Coucci finished with 17 points while Rashaan Powell netted 11 in the game.
The Lions will remain at home as they host Roger Williams November 28 at 7 pm in the first league matchup of the year.