QUINCY, Mass.- Senior Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) became the 29th player in program history to amass 1,000 career points as the Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team defeated Nichols 89-83 in an overtime-thriller Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center in front of an energetic fanbase.
The victory propels the Lions to 14-5 on the year and 8-4 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Bison fall to 11-8 overall and 6-6 in league action with the loss.
Ezeigbo registered a double-double on the night with 18 points and 12 boards. He eclipsed the millennium mark with a put-back lay-up 7:14 into the game and becomes the most recent 1,000-point scorer since Luc Jasmin III accomplished the feat in 2008.
Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) added 16 points and five rebounds off the bench. Rookie Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) netted 14 points and dished out four assists. Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) deposited 10 points on the night while Aaron Johnson (Roslindale, Mass.) tallied nine. Senior Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) recorded a team-best eight helpers in the contest while adding seven points.
Nichols was led by Matt Langadas and Kyle Mascilak with 16 points each while Justin Kuntz chipped in with 14. Ryan Sheehan, the leading scorer in the conference, was limited to just 11 points in the game.
The hosts claimed an early 9-6 edge as Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) banked in a lay-up with 16:53 left to play.
The visitors captured their first lead of the night with 15:51 remaining in the half as Kuntz drained a trey, 11-9. Nichols stretched the margin to eight on a three-pointer by Jessy Michaud with 13:33 left in the first frame.
Eastern Nazarene cut the deficit to two points, 23-21, with 10:43 remaining as McCoy converted a pair of free throws.
The Lions grabbed a one-point advantage with 6:16 left to play in the half as Max Barbosa (Dorchester, Mass.) nailed a trey, 33-32.
The home team owned a five-point lead at the halftime break after Owens knocked down a three-pointer in the final minute of the opening period, 46-41.
Lynch led Eastern Nazarene with 10 first-half points while Owens, McCoy and Hard all scored seven.
The Lions shot 52.9% from the field in the first frame and 40.0% from beyond the arc. The Bison sported a field-goal percentage of 48.6% and matched the hosts' 40.0% from three-point range at intermission.
Nichols opened the second stanza with a 5-1 run to cut the lead to 47-46.
Eastern Nazarene responded with 12 consecutive points to extend the gap to 13, 61-48.
The Lions largest lead of the game came with 9:10 remaining in regulation as Ezeigbo drained a lay-in to push the score to 68-54.
The Bison chipped away at the margin to trim the deficit to one, 72-71, as Mascilak hit a three-pointer with 5:17 left to play in the second half.
The visitors seized a one-point lead with 1:06 on the clock as Langadas scored a lay-up to put Nichols ahead 77-76.
Eastern Nazarene bounced back with a trey by Justin Wagner from the left corner to reclaim a two-point edge, 79-77, with 54 seconds remaining.
Nichols knotted the score at 79-79 on a lay-in by Mascilak with 34 seconds left to play.
The Lions held the ball to allow time to dwindle until driving for the last shot. Owens' runner in the lane rattled off the rim and Lynch's follow-up attempt hit the iron and bounced out as time expired.
In the extra session, Eastern Nazarene outscored the Bison 10-4 to snap a two-game skid.
Owens netted the hosts' first two buckets to give the Lions a four-point lead, 83-79. After Nichols narrowed the gap to two, Justin Wagner tossed in a lay-up to restore the lead to four.
Barbosa and Justin Wagner each sank a pair of free throws in the waning seconds to preserve the win.
The Lions connected on 41.9% of their field-goal attempts in the second half and 75% in overtime to finish with a percentage of 49.3% on the night.
The visitors shot 45.7% in the second period and were constrained to just 11.1% shooting in the bonus five-minute frame.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene hits the road for a league matchup at Salve Regina January 31. The Lions topped the Seahawks 73-52 earlier this season at home.