QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team edged St. Joseph's-Brooklyn 78-71 in the title game of the ENC Basketball Classic Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions remain unbeaten at 4-0 on the year with the win. The Bears fall to 4-1 overall with the loss.
Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) paced the hosts with 26 points, seven assists and three steals. Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with 15 points on 5-for-6 shooting from behind the arc and pulled down a team-high six rebounds. Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) chipped in with 13 points while Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) notched 10 points, four boards and four assists.
Eastern Nazarene snagged an 8-2 edge 2:21 into the game before St. Joseph's responded with 14 unanswered points to go ahead 16-8.
The Lions regained a two-point advantage with 8:10 remaining in the half as Jeremy Wagner drained a straight-away triple, 21-19.
The Bears leveled the score at 23-23 with 6:48 to go on a pair of free throws by Greg Beehler.
The two teams traded baskets to keep the contest close. Eastern Nazarene jumped out to a four-point lead with under a minute left to play in the first frame as Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) netted a tip-in and Jeremy Wagner buried a trey, 36-32.
St. Joseph's recorded the final five points of the opening stanza to hold a 37-36 edge at halftime, capped off by a pair of free throw by Matt O'Neill with less than a second remaining on the clock.
The Lions shot 43.3% from the field in the first half and 50% from downtown. The Bears sank 48.1% of their field-goal attempts in the period while sporting a three-point shooting percentage of 25%.
Jeremy Wagner led the home team with 12 first-half points. Owens tallied eight points in the opening 20 minutes of action while Doran added five points.
Eastern Nazarene raced to a 44-39 lead four minutes into the second stanza. St. Joseph's answered with five straight points to tie the game at 44-44 with 13:45 remaining.
The Lions evened the score at 69-69 for the 12th tie-score of the afternoon with 3:29 left to play as Jarman converted a pair of shots from the charity stripe.
The home team notched five consecutive points to claim a 74-69 advantage with 1:34 on the clock.
After the Bears cut the deficit to three with 1:18 to go in regulation, Eric Lynch set up Jarman for an easy lay-in to reestablish a five-point lead, 76-71.
Owens knocked down two free throws with 11 seconds left to play as Eastern Nazarene locked up its fourth victory of the year.
David Louison posted a double-double for St. Joseph's with game-highs of 27 points and 18 rebounds. Matt O'Neill added 22 points for the guests while Alec Willis poured in seven points.
The Lions connected on 49.2% of their field-goal attempts on the day and 46.7% of their three-point efforts. The Bears shot 54.0% from the floor while being limited to 25% shooting from long distance.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene will host Regis (Mass.) November 25 in a non-conference tilt.
In the consolation game, the University of Maine-Presque Isle cruised past Green Mountain 83-60.
Chase Vicaire led five Owls in double-digit scoring with 16 points in the victory.
Cameron Gaudette poured in a team-high 10 points in the loss for the Eagles.