QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team collected its eighth consecutive win Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center, defeating Western New England 72-63.
The Lions skyrocket to 18-4 on the year and remain in second place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with a 12-4 mark. The Golden Bears slip to 6-16 overall and 4-12 in league play with the loss.
Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) notched a team-high 16 points while adding three assists. Lequan Gomes (Fairfield, Calif.) contributed with 13 points and seven boards off the bench. Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) also netted 13 points while reeling in six rebounds on the day. Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) scored 10 points while Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with six points and Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) grabbed six boards.
Eastern Nazarene began the game on a 6-2 run 1:29 into play as Owens and Justin Wagner drilled back-to-back treys.
After Western New England tied the score at 8-8, the Lions chalked up five consecutive points to grab a 13-8 lead. Zach Tonello (Bourne, Mass.) nailed a straight-away three-pointer to cap off the run with 13:13 left to play in the half.
The hosts widened the gap to 13 with 7:20 to play in the period as Owens connected on a three-pointer, 25-12.
With less than two minutes remaining in the opening frame, Hard sank a trey from the right wing to push Eastern Nazarene's advantage to 15, 38-23.
The Golden Bears cut the deficit to 40-27 just before halftime on a pair of free throws by Kevin Wilkes.
Eastern Nazarene sported a shooting percentage of 40.5% at halftime, including 43.8% from long distance. Western New England connected on 45.8% of its shot attempts in the first half while being restricted to just 1-of-7 from beyond the arc.
Gomes poured in a team-high 11 points and grabbed four rebounds in the opening 20 minutes to lead the Lions. Hard and Owens each tallied eight points in the first frame while Jarman corralled four rebounds.
Eastern Nazarene surged ahead to a 21-point margin with 13:14 left to play in the contest as Owens knocked down a step-back three-pointer from the right corner, 54-33.
Western New England pulled to within 15 with 6:07 on the clock as Nick DeFeo sank one of his three treys on the day, 64-49.
The Golden Bears closed out the contest with six straight points, trimming the final margin to nine 72-63.
The Lions shot 41.8% from the floor and 43.5% from three-point range on the day. The Golden Bears posted a field-goal percentage of 40.7% in the game to go with 5-of-19 shooting from outside the arc.
Western New England was led by Dennis Rinaldi with a game-high 17 points and eight boards while DeFeo added 15 points and eight rebounds.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene hosts league-leading Nichols February 18 in the final home tilt of the regular season. Prior to tip-off, the Lions will recognize the program's senior class.