QUINCY, Mass.- Fueled by a career-best 28-point performance by Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.), the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team knocked off the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) 82-79 Saturday afternoon at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions improve to 2-1 on the season with the win while the Engineers drop to 1-1 overall.
Lynch added three steals, two assists, two rebounds and one block on the night to go with his career-high 28 points. The senior converted 15-of-17 free throw attempts in the game while also draining six field-goals, including one three-pointer.
Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) finished with 16 points, nine boards, two steals and a pair of assists. Anthony Petrilli (Santa Clarita, Calif.) netted 15 points while grabbing four rebounds and Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) chipped in with eight points and three assists.
After the home side established an early 7-6 lead, the visitors rattled off six consecutive points to seize a 12-7 advantage with 15:52 remaining in the first half.
MIT stretched the margin to 10 points with 11 minutes to go in the opening stanza, 24-14, as Bradley Jomard knocked down a baseline jumper.
Eastern Nazarene pulled to within four as a 6-0 run cut the deficit to 24-20 with 8:32 on the clock.
A triple by Petrilli and a pair of free throws by Patrick Michel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) narrowed the gap to five with 1:57 to go in the half, 45-40.
The Engineers pushed their lead to 47-40 just before the break on a layup by Dakota Pierce.
Doran and Petrilli each scored 12 points through 20 minutes of action to lead the Lions.
Eastern Nazarene shot 51.9% from the floor and connected on 3-of-6 three-point attempts in the first half. MIT owned a field-goal percentage of 50% in the first frame and sank 4-of-9 from beyond the arc while also converting 15-of-16 from the charity stripe.
The hosts chipped away at the deficit before capturing a two-point edge with 12:19 to go as Petrilli splashed a trey, 59-57.
The guests regained the lead with 6:46 left to play, 67-65, as Pierce tossed in a layup and nailed a free throw.
The Lions responded with back-to-back three-pointers by Lynch and Rice to jump ahead 71-67 with 4:09 on the clock.
Eastern Nazarene widened the margin to six on a free throw by David Eddings (Endicott, N.Y.) with 2:28 remaining, 75-69.
MIT answered with a three-pointer by Pierce and a lay-in by Tim Roberts to slice the gap to three, 75-74, with 1:35 left to play.
Lynch and Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) both drilled two crucial free throws in the final minute of play to extend the Lions' edge to 79-74.
After a bucket by Jomard pulled the Engineers to within three, Rice knocked down three of four chances from the charity stripe to restore Eastern Nazarene lead to six, 82-76, before MIT's Samuel Bockman hit a three-pointer at the buzzer.
The Lions finished with a field-goal percentage of 46.3% to go with 42.9% shooting from long distance. The Engineers shot 49.1% in the game and 43.8% from the perimeter.
Jomard led MIT with 28 points on the afternoon while Pierce and Spencer Rust each tallied 11 points.
"Our guys battled the whole game but played much better on the defensive end in the second half. It was a quality win against a very good team," said head coach Scott Polsgrove.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene hits the road to take on Pine Manor November 22.