BEVERLY, Mass.- The sixth-seeded Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team dropped an 84-66 decision at second-seeded Endicott in the semifinals of the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament Thursday evening.
The Lions end the season with a 13-14 overall record while the Gulls, ranked No. 10 in the NCAA Northeast Regional poll, improve to 22-5 on the year.
Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) scored a team-high 17 points while adding four rebounds and two assists. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) finished with 15 points and seven boards. Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) posted 12 points and seven rebounds while Anthony Petrilli (Santa Clarita, Calif.) chipped in with six points and six assists.
The visitors held an 11-8 edge after a back-and-forth start to the contest.
Endicott claimed a one-point lead with 11:24 left to play in the first half as Vinny Clifford drained a three, 14-13.
The two squads traded baskets before Eastern Nazarene built up a 22-19 advantage with 9:40 remaining in the opening frame as Petrilli rolled in a layup.
The Gulls jumped ahead 26-22 with 7:57 to go in the first period on a hoop and free throw by Max Motroni.
The Lions leveled the score at 26-26 with 7:07 left to play in the opening half as Lynch converted two from the charity stripe.
Endicott chalked up five unanswered points to seize a 31-27 lead with 4:20 remaining in the half.
The home side stretched the margin to 36-30 with 2:42 left to play in the opening stanza on a layup and free throw by Nick Thibault.
The guests cut the deficit to two as Rice splashed a trey from the left corner with 1:17 to go in the first frame.
The Gulls carried a 43-34 lead into the halftime intermission.
Eastern Nazarene shot 44.4% from the floor and connected on 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Endicott sported a field-goal percentage of 40% at the break to go with 38.9% shooting from the perimeter.
The hosts constructed an 18-point lead with 13:25 remaining in the second half as Drew Sawyer knocked down a three, 58-40. The Gulls widened the gap to 20 with 11:19 on the clock on a pair of free throws by Daquan Sampson.
The Lions trimmed the deficit to 64-50 as Doran sank two free throws with 8:51 left to play in the second stanza.
Endicott maintained a double-digit lead en route to securing its fifth-consecutive win and clinching a spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament finals for the third year in a row.
Sampson poured in a game-high 24 points for the Gulls while Kamahl Walker notched 16 points and Motroni contributed with 15 points on the night.