DUDLEY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team absorbed a 101-89 loss on the road at conference frontrunner Nichols Tuesday evening.
The Lions fall to 20-4 on the season and 13-4 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the loss. The Bison improve to 19-5 overall and 16-1 in league play.
With the result, Eastern Nazarene is locked into the No. 3 seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament while Nichols secures the top spot.
Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) poured in a game-best 24 points in his first start of the season. Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) scored 21 points and dished out three assists off the bench. Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) chipped in with 18 points, seven assists and four boards on the evening.
Eastern Nazarene ramped up its lead to 15-6 after a slow start by both sides. Lynch raced ahead of all the Bison to put up a fast-break layup with 13:24 left to play in the half.
Nichols tallied 11 consecutive points to jump ahead 20-17 midway through the first frame on a layup by Matt Langadas.
The Lions leveled the score at 22-22 as Doran completed a three-point play from the free throw line with 8:45 remaining.
The Bison regained a 13-point advantage with 3:16 left to play as Chris Johnson deposited a two-handed dunk.
Eastern Nazarene trimmed the margin to 43-38 heading into the final minute of the opening period as Doran netted another basket.
Nichols owned a 46-38 lead at the halftime intermission after Langadas drained his third three-pointer of the half.
Doran paced the visitors with 15 points and Lynch added 10 points while Jarman grabbed five boards.
The Lions shot 51.6% from the floor in the first half while missing both attempts from the perimeter. The Bison sported a field-goal percentage of 45.7% at the break to go with 3-of-9 shooting from long range.
The guests battled back to tie the game at 62-62 with 10 minutes remaining in regulation as Owens tossed up a 2-on-1 layup to cap off an 11-2 run.
The home team answered with an 11-2 run of its own to reclaim a 73-64 edge with 8:28 left to play.
Nichols kept Eastern Nazarene at bay for the remainder of the contest and scored seven of its final nine points from the charity stripe.
The Lions connected on 48.6% of their field-goal attempts on the night, including 5-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Bison shot 48.4% from the floor and 25% from three-point distance in the game.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene closes out the regular season at home against Gordon February 21.