QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team prevailed 80-77 in a thriller Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The win propels the Lions to 9-1 on the year and 3-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. The Hawks dip to 2-9 overall and 1-3 in league action with the result.
Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) scored a team-high 19 points and dished out six assists in the victory. Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with 14 points, three steals and three rebounds. Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) also notched 14 points while hauling in five boards. Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) grabbed a team-best eight rebounds on the night while also tallying 12 points. Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) contributed nine points and five assists off the bench.
The two squads traded baskets in the opening 2:35 as back-to-back lay-ups gave Roger Williams a 6-4 edge.
Eastern Nazarene utilized a 10-2 run to claim an 18-11 lead with 11:10 left to play, capped off by a trey by Owens.
The Hawks battled back to trim the deficit to one, 18-17, as Josh Syska completed a three-point play.
The Lions went on an eight-point tear to push the margin to nine, 26-17, with 8:07 remaining in the half.
Eastern Nazarene stretched its advantage to 21 points as Christian Lynch buried his lone three-pointer of the game with 2:23 to go.
The Lions carried a 19-point lead into the halftime intermission, 44-25.
At the break, Owens paced the home team with 10 points and three assists. Justin Wagner poured in nine first-half points on 3-of-5 shooting from long distance. Eric Lynch chipped in with eight points in the opening 20 minutes of play while Jeremy Wagner scored five points and pulled down eight boards.
Eastern Nazarene connected on 45.7% of its field-goal attempts in the first frame, including 7-of-18 from downtown. Roger Williams owned a field-goal percentage of 34.6% in the opening half while also coming up empty from behind the arc on eight efforts.
The Hawks bounced back in the second half, cutting the deficit to nine with 14:34 remaining on a lay-in by Chris Bardwell, 51-42.
A three-pointer by Jeremy Wagner and a lay-up by Eric Lynch restored the Lions' lead to 56-42.
Roger Williams pulled to within six with 8:12 on the clock as Joseph Henry converted two free throws., 60-54.
Eastern Nazarene increased its advantage back to 14 points with 5:27 remaining as Jeremy Wagner nailed a trey from the right corner, 72-58.
The visitors shrunk the margin to six on a lay-up by Bardwell with 3:34 left to play, 72-66.
Back-to-back lay-ins 14 seconds apart by the Hawks sliced the Lions' edge to the three points, 75-72, heading into the final minute of regulation.
With 37 seconds on the clock, Christian Lynch dished the ball to Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) under the hoop for a lay-up to put the home side up by five, 77-72.
On Roger Williams' ensuing possession, Zac Campbell hit a three-pointer to make it a two-point contest with 21 seconds left to play, 77-75.
Jeremy Wagner and Justin Wagner each sank one of two attempts from the charity stripe to give Eastern Nazarene a 79-75 advantage with 11 seconds to go.
After Henry bounced in a lay-up with four seconds to play to pull the Hawks to within two, Christian Lynch knocked down the second of two free throws to extend the lead to three, 80-77, with less than a second remaining in regulation.
Campbell's three-point toss from beyond midcourt came up just short as Eastern Nazarene escaped with its ninth win of the season.
The Lions posted a field-goal percentage of 45.3% on the night to go with 40.0% shooting from three-point range. The Hawks shot 46.8% from the floor in the game while being limited to 11.8% from beyond the arc.
Roger Williams was led by Bardwell with 22 points on the night. Campbell recorded 13 points and nine rebounds while Ryan Palumbo scored 10 points and grabbed seven boards.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene hits the road for a crucial Commonwealth Coast Conference bout at Wentworth January 9.