QUINCY, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team bested Becker 78-64 Wednesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center in the first conference contest of the season.
The Lions climb to 5-8 on the year and 1-0 in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) with the victory. The Hawks fall to 7-7 overall and 0-1 in league play with the result.
Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) poured in a game-high 26 points while hauling in eight rebounds. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) scored 17 rebounds, grabbed five boards, and added four assists. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) finished with 14 points while Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) tallied 10 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) chipped in with seven assists, six points, and five boards on the night.
The hosts seized a 10-4 lead three minutes into the game on a mid-range jumper by Crandell before pushing their advantage to 15-6 with 15:49 left to play in the first half as Crandell canned a trey.
The visitors cut the deficit to two, 15-13, with 13:18 to go in the opening frame as Jamal Grant's basket capped off a 7-0 spurt.
Eastern Nazarene strung together an 8-0 run to extend its lead to double-digits, 30-30, with 3:24 remaining in the first period.
The Lions sported a 37-25 advantage at the half after Crandell splashed a three-pointer from the right wing late in the frame.
The home side shot 56% from the floor and drained 7-of-14 from long distance in the first 20 minutes of action. Becker posted a field-goal percentage of 34.6% at the midway point of the game to go with 25% shooting from beyond the arc.
Crandell led all scorers with 16 points in the first half to go with three boards while Rice chipped in with nine points.
Eastern Nazarene widened the margin to 19 with 13:18 remaining in regulation, 53-34, on a bucket by Cheney.
The Hawks trimmed the gap to seven on a free throw by Grant with 5:22 left to play, 58-51.
The Lions regained a double-figure edge as Cheney converted a pair of free throws with 4:09 to go, 62-52.
The hosts held onto the double-digit lead for the final 3:36 to secure their first conference win of the season.
The Lions concluded the contest with a field-goal percentage of 56%, connecting on 14-of-25 attempts in each half. Eastern Nazarene shot 52% from three-point territory on the night, drilling 13 treys on 25 chances. The Hawks posted a field-goal percentage of 39.3% in the game with a 31.3% clip from behind the arc.
Guney Kilitcioglu paced Becker with 14 points while Jamir Carr registered nine points and 11 rebounds.
Looking ahead, Eastern Nazarene will begin NECC play January 8 at home against Becker.