BOSTON, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team erased a nine-point halftime deficit to defeat UMass-Boston 74-66 in the UMass-Boston Harbor Invitational title clash Saturday afternoon.
The Lions stay unbeaten at 7-0 on the season with the victory. The Beacons absorb their first loss of the year to fall to 5-1 overall.
Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) notched 24 points, six rebounds and five assists to lead the guests and was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) scored a season-high 19 points and earned a spot on the All-Tournament Team. Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) tallied 10 points while Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) finished with nine points and seven boards.
The visitors sprinted out to a 7-2 lead before the home team netted 10 unanswered points to gain a 12-7 advantage with 13:15 remaining.
After Eastern Nazarene claimed a 15-12 edge with 11:40 to go on a trey by Owens, UMass-Boston responded with 13 consecutive points to establish a 25-15 lead with 8:25 left to play.
The Lions trailed by nine points at halftime, 42-33, as the Beacons' Karl Agenor drained a triple with 15 seconds on the clock.
Owens poured in a team-high 16 points in the first half while Justin Wagner chipped in with six points.
Eastern Nazarene shot 41.9% from the field in the opening frame and 46.7% from three-point land. UMass-Boston posted a field-goal percentage of 48.6% at the midway point of the contest.
The Lions reclaimed the lead with 15:38 remaining as Eddie Ramirez (Clovis, Calif.) converted a pair of free throws, 48-47.
The guests did not relinquish control of the lead for the remainder of the game and kept the Beacons at bay en route to capturing the Harbor Invitational crown and Eastern Nazarene's seventh-straight win.
The Lions shot 47.2% from the floor and drained 11-of-22 attempts from three-point distance. The Beacons finished with a field-goal percentage of 43.8% while connecting on 42.1% of their efforts from long range.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene will open Commonwealth Coast Conference play on the road at the University of New England December 3.