DUDLEY, Mass.- In the regular-season finale, the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team dropped an 87-80 decision at Nichols Saturday afternoon.
The Lions progress to 18-7 on the year and 12-6 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Eastern Nazarene must wait for the remaining league games to go final in order to determine its playoff seeding.
The Bison improve to 22-3 overall and secure the regular-season CCC crown with a league mark of 16-2.
Lequan Gomes (Fairfield, Calif.) recorded a team-high 14 points and grabbed seven boards. Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) also poured in 14 points on the day while dishing out three assists. Jeremy Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) registered 11 points and six assists in the contest.
Nichols rushed out to a 15-2 lead five minutes into the contest.
The Bison stretched the margin to 18 points on a trey by Marcos Echevarria with 13:35 remaining in the first half, 23-5.
Eastern Nazarene cut the deficit to 11 with 8:34 to go in the opening period as Jeremy Wagner splashed his third triple of the game, 31-20.
The guests pulled to within five, 44-39, as Micah Simmons-Smalls (Kingston, N.Y.) banked in a layup with 2:11 on the clock.
After the Lions trimmed the gap to four with 1:15 left in the half, the hosts extended their advantage to 50-44 with a layup by Irving Eggleston with under five seconds remaining.
Eastern Nazarene shot 58.1% from the floor and knocked down 5-of-9 attempts from the perimeter. Nichols boasted a field-goal percentage of 52.9% at the break to go with 6-for-9 shooting from behind the arc.
Jeremy Wagner paced the Lions with 12 first-half points and four rebounds. Eric Lynch chipped in with 10 points in the opening frame while Owens added eight points and three assists.
The Bison restored their lead to double-digits as Devin Stallings drained a three-pointer 3:26 into the second stanza, 57-46.
The home side extended its advantage to 18 on a trey by Echevarria with 10:19 remaining.
The Lions sliced the margin to 11 with 8:42 to go as Gomes rolled in a layup, 70-59.
Eric Lynch drilled a jumper with 2:49 left to play, shrinking the visitors' deficit to nine points, 83-74.
Eastern Nazarene finished with a field-goal percentage of 55.9% while sinking 42.9% of its attempts from three-point territory. Nichols shot 46.7% from the floor and 47.6% from beyond the arc.
Up next, the Lions will host a Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament quarterfinal game for the fourth-straight year February 23.