WENHAM, Mass.- Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) buried a three-pointer from the right wing with less than a second left on the clock to propel the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team to a thrilling 71-68 win at Gordon College Saturday afternoon.
The Lions improve to 14-1 overall and 7-1 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the victory. The Fighting Scots dip to 6-8 on the season and 3-4 in the league with the result.
Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) tallied a team-high 15 points and six assists. Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) registered 13 points off the bench. Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with nine points and five boards while Justin Wagner added seven points and three steals.
After the home team opened the game on a 6-0 run, Jeremy Wagner drilled a trey to cut the deficit in half for the away side with 18:09 remaining.
Gordon stretched its lead to 18-6 as Taylor Bajema scored two of his 19 first-half points on a layup with 12:51 left to play.
Eastern Nazarene trimmed the margin to three points with four minutes on the clock as Jeremy Wagner converted a pair of shots from the charity stripe, 25-22.
Jeremy Wagner and Smith nailed back-to-back triples before Doran pulled the Lions even at 30-30 with a layup with 1:07 to go in the half.
After Bajema gave the Fighting Scots a 32-30 lead with 46 seconds left to play, Christian Lynch sank two free throws with five seconds on the clock to send the two teams into the halftime break deadlocked at 32-32.
Jeremy Wagner paced Eastern Nazarene at the midway point of the game with nine points. Christian Lynch chipped in with seven points while Owens and Smith each netted five points.
The Lions shot 37% from the floor in the first half and 39.5% from beyond the arc. The Fighting Scots connected on 50% of their first-half attempts while being limited to just 1-of-6 shooting from the perimeter.
Eastern Nazarene started the second period on a 7-2 run to claim a 39-34 lead 1:55 into the half.
Gordon grabbed a one-point lead with 12:38 on the clock on a putback layup by Bajema.
The Lions reestablished a four-point edge with 10:33 to go as Smith knocked down a trey, 48-44.
Down the stretch, the two teams battled evenly as the score stayed close.
After the Fighting Scots went ahead 68-66 on a three-pointer by Bajema, Eastern Nazarene answered with a lay-up by Jarman to knot the score at 68-68 with 38 seconds remaining.
The visitors capitalized on a turnover by Gordon as Justin Wagner came up with a clutch steal before handing the ball off to Owens as the Lions held the ball for the final shot of the contest.
With the remaining time dwindling, Owens drove to the hoop before dishing the ball to Justin Wagner on the wing in front of the away bench. The junior found the bottom of the cup with less than one second on the clock to elevate Eastern Nazarene to a 71-68 win.
The Lions posted a field-goal percentage of 44.4% on the afternoon while draining 50% of their three-point efforts. The Fighting Scots shot 51.8% from the floor in the game and 30.8% from the outside the arc.
Bajema finished with a game-high 28 points for the home team while Miersma recorded 18 boards and 11 points.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene will host CCC frontrunner Nichols January 20.