QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team claimed its fifth-straight win Friday evening, defeating Pine Manor 86-80 in the nightcap of the ENC-Curry Thanksgiving Classic at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions improve to 5-0 on the year while the Gators fall to 3-2 overall.
Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) led all players with 21 points, nine assists and seven steals. Lequan Gomes (Fairfield, Calif.) notched his second double-double of the year, scoring 15 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) recorded 14 points and Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) chipped in with 11 points off the bench.
The visitors opened the game on an 8-2 run and established an eight-point lead four minutes into the contest, 13-5.
The home team cut the deficit to two on a layup by Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.), 13-11.
Eastern Nazarene tied the score at 32-32 with 5:47 remaining in the opening half as Gomes pushed in a put-back layup.
The Lions seized their first lead of the night with five minutes left to play in the first frame, 35-34. Christian Lynch zipped a cross-court pass to Owens in the left corner for a three-pointer.
The hosts stretched the gap to eight with 2:43 on the clock on another triple by Owens, 46-38.
Pine Manor pulled to within two in the final minute of the half as Rasheed Bell banked in a layup, 48-46.
Eastern Nazarene clung to the two-point advantage at the break after shooting 42.6% from the field and 28.6% from beyond the arc.
The Lions came out in the second half firing on all cylinders as they built up a 15-point lead less than five minutes into the period. The hosts utilized a 13-0 run to widen the margin to 61-46.
The Gators narrowed the spread to four points with 5:16 remaining on a trey by Taverick Robinson.
Eastern Nazarene responded with a three-pointer on its ensuing possession by Justin Wagner to take a 77-70 lead.
After Pine Manor sliced the deficit to three with 42 seconds left to play, Owens converted the first of two free throws and Christian Lynch knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to seal the victory.
The Lions shot 43.2% from the floor on the night and connected on 10-of-35 three-pointers. The Gators finished with a field-goal percentage of 42.3% to go with 30.8% shooting from the perimeter.
Curtis Hyman scored a team-high 16 points and collected 13 rebounds for Pine Manor.
In the matinee game, the University of Dallas topped Curry in overtime 88-85.
Tom Kaiser led the Crusaders with a double-double, finishing with 22 points and 12 boards while Michael Sarrat poured in 20 points.
Paul Preziosi paced the Colonels with 23 points and added nine rebounds.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene will battle the University of Dallas November 28 at Curry College on the second day of the ENC-Curry Thanksgiving Classic.