DUDLEY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team dropped a 93-83 decision at regionally-ranked, league-leading Nichols Tuesday evening.
The Lions slip to 6-16 on the year and 2-15 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference with the loss. The Bison, listed ninth in the latest NCAA Regional Rankings, improve to 21-3 overall and remain atop the league standings with a 15-2 mark.
Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) poured in 24 points on 6-of-10 shooting from behind the arc while adding four rebounds and four assists. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) tallied 15 points and Brenndan Rogers (Hanson, Mass.) netted 13 points off the bench. David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) finished with 14 points, five boards, and five assists. Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) registered eight points, eight rebounds, and six assists on the night.
The opening six minutes of the game featured six lead changes before the visitors gained a four-point edge with 10:21 left to play in the first half on a layup by Lopez, 22-18.
The hosts answered with a trey by Daequon Antoine on the ensuing possession to cut the deficit to 22-21 with under 10 minutes remaining in the opening stanza.
The two squads combined for six lead changes and six ties in the final nine minutes of the half. During the tightly-contested stretch, the margin never rose above three points.
Eastern Nazarene and Nichols headed into the halftime break deadlocked at 42-42.
The Lions posted a field-goal percentage of 51.7% in the first frame to go with 53.3% shooting from long distance. The Bison shot 54.8% from the floor and 43.8% from three-point range in the opening half.
Cheney paced the guests with 11 first-half points while Rogers chipped in with 10 points.
The home side started the second stanza with an 11-2 run to widen the gap to 53-44 with 17:03 remaining in regulation.
Nichols grabbed the game's first double-digit lead with 11:54 left to play as Antoine knocked down a three-pointer, 66-56.
Eastern Nazarene trimmed the deficit to 72-67 on a pair of free throws by Cheney with 8:17 on the clock.
The Lions pulled to within two with 3:07 to go in the second half as Rice splashed a trey before Cheney drilled a jumper, 77-75.
The Bison responded with a pair of three-pointers to push their advantage to 83-75 with 2:04 remaining.
The hosts made 8-of-8 free throw attempts in the final 1:26 to secure their seventh consecutive victory.
The Lions shot 47.7% from the floor and 46.9% from beyond the arc in the contest. The Bison finished with a field-goal percentage of 56.9% and connected on 16-of-32 three-point attempts.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene will close out the 2018 campaign on the road at Curry February 17.