BOSTON, Mass.- Senior Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) became the 33rd player in program history to reach 1,000 career points as the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team fell 83-69 to nationally-ranked Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) Friday evening at the UMass-Boston Paula Titus Memorial Tournament.
The Lions move to 1-4 on the year with the setback while the Engineers, ranked No. 16 in the D3Hoops.com National Preseason Poll, improve to 4-1 overall with the result.
Needing 14 points to eclipse the 1,000-career-point mark, Rice splashed six treys in the first half to become the 43rd 1,000-point scorer in school history. Rice and his father, Jon Rice '90, are the first father-son duo in program history to amass 1,000 career points.
Rice poured in a team-high and season-best 24 points on the night while Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) tallied 12 points and four boards. David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) netted eight points and three rebounds off the bench. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) and Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) both chipped in with seven points.
WPI quickly grabbed a 7-0 lead less than three minutes into the contest before pushing its advantage to 18-8 with 10:57 left to play in the first half on a put-back layup by Logan O'Donnell.
Eastern Nazarene cut the deficit to 27-22 with 5:17 to go in the opening frame as Rice canned a three-pointer.
The Engineers responded with eight straight points to extend the gap to 35-22 with 3:36 remaining in the half.
The Lions trailed 43-29 at the halftime break after shooting 37% from the field and 50% from three-point territory in the first period.
Eastern Nazarene narrowed the margin to single digits with 10:25 left to play in regulation on a jumper by Crandell, 63-54.
WPI regained a double-figure lead on its ensuing trip down the court and maintained the advantage for the remainder of the contest to earn its fourth victory of the season.
The Lions posted a field-goal percentage of 44.2% while connecting on 12-of-22 from beyond the arc. The Engineers shot 50% from the floor and 41.2% from three-point range on the night.
Garrett Stephenson scored a game-high 26 points while Colin McNamara notched 17 points and Dakota Wheeler added 11 points with seven rebounds.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene will face Framingham State Saturday, November 23 in the consolation game of the Paula Titus Memorial Tournament hosted by UMass-Boston.