CHICOPEE, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team earned a 68-56 victory at Elms Saturday afternoon.
The Lions improve to 8-9 on the season and 5-3 in the New England Collegiate Conference with the win. The Blazers dip to 3-13 overall and 2-6 in league competition with the outcome.
Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) poured in a game-high 17 points and hauled in seven rebounds. Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) posted 13 points, four boards, and two blocks. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) finished with 11 points while Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) tallied eight points off the bench.
The hosts snagged an early five-point lead on a basket by Justin Feliciano before the guests leveled the contest at 7-7 with 16:16 left to play in the first half as Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) tossed in a layup.
Eastern Nazarene seized its first lead of the game with 13:59 to go in the opening period, 13-11, on a layup by D'Eric Marlowe (North Las Vegas, Nev.). The rookie banked in another layup with 10:33 on the clock to push the Lions' advantage to 20-13.
Back-to-back treys by Elms cut the deficit to 20-19 with 9:37 remaining in the half.
The Blazers used a 7-0 run to jump ahead 26-21 with 4:54 left in the first frame.
The Lions clawed back to knot the score at 26-26 on a layup by Waldroop followed by a three-ball by Rice with 3:49 to go in the first period before reclaiming the lead, 28-26, on a bucket by Shearman with 2:42 showing on the clock.
Elms closed out the first half with five unanswered points to own a narrow 31-28 edge at the break.
Eastern Nazarene shot 39.3% from the floor in the first 20 minutes and connected on 2-of-15 from long distance. Elms posted a field-goal percentage of 47.8% in the opening half to go with 50% from three-point range.
The visitors pulled even at 32-32 with 17:14 remaining in regulation as Rice canned his second three-pointer of the contest.
The Lions grabbed a 40-34 lead with 13:40 left to play on a layup by Crandell.
Eastern Nazarene stretched the margin to nine as Cheney nailed a trey with 9:32 to go in the game,43-34.
The guests claimed the first double-digit lead of the day on a three-pointer by Waldroop with 7:49 on the clock, 52-41.
The home side trimmed the margin to 54-49 with 4:08 left to play on a layup by Kevin Smoot.
The Lions responded with three-pointers by Cheney and Waldroop to regain a double-figure advantage with 2:28 remaining.
Eastern Nazarene outscored Elms 8-5 in the final two minutes to lock up its fifth conference victory of the season.
The Lions finished with a field-goal percentage of 42.6% on the day, including a 30.8% clip from beyond the arc. The Blazers shot 40.8% from the floor in the contest and 31.6% from three-point land.
Nikolas Brown scored 12 points to pace Elms while Feliciano chipped in with 11 points.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene returns home to host Southern Vermont January 22.