BIDDEFORD, Maine- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team rallied to defeat the University of New England 65-60 Saturday afternoon.
The Lions improve to 11-12 on the season and 8-8 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the win. The Nor'easters slip to 7-16 overall and 5-11 in league play with the loss.
Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) scored a game-high 26 points and grabbed five rebounds to pace Eastern Nazarene. Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) netted 18 points and hauled in seven boards. Anthony Petrilli (Santa Clarita, Calif.) finished with a team-high nine rebounds and added five points.
The visitors fell behind early and struggled to get on the board in the opening 5:12 before Andrew Mitchell (Campobello, S.C.) came up with a steal and tossed in a layup, 5-2.
The home side established a 12-point margin with 9:41 remaining in the first half as Gavin Dibble drained a three-pointer, 16-4.
Eastern Nazarene clawed back to cut the deficit to 27-25 with 2:26 left to play in the opening frame on a layup by Doran.
The Lions trailed by three at the half, 32-29, after shooting 41.4% from the floor and 1-for-10 from three-point range in the first period.
Eastern Nazarene leveled the score with 17:32 remaining in the second stanza, 34-34, as Lynch finished off a three-point play from the charity stripe.
After the two teams traded buckets, the guests seized their first lead of the day with 13:15 to go in regulation. Doran converted two free throws to put the Lions ahead 42-40.
Eastern Nazarene widened the gap to 49-43 with 8:11 on the clock as Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) splashed a three-pointer.
The University of New England trimmed the margin to 53-49 with 3:39 left to play on a layup by Daron Hoges Jr.
Lynch knocked down two free throws and sank a basket to push the Lions advantage to 57-49 with 1:42 remaining.
Petrilli and Lynch drilled free throws in the final minute of play as Eastern Nazarene locked up a crucial conference victory.
The Lions finished with a field-goal percentage of 41.8% shooting despite shooting 2-for-19 from long distance. The Nor'easters shot 37.3% from the floor and 27.6% from behind the arc on the day.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene welcomes Nichols February 15 in the final home contest of the season.