CHICOPEE, Mass.- The Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team absorbed its first league setback of the season, falling at Elms 74-69 Saturday afternoon to snap a seven-game winning-streak.
The Lions dip to 11-9 on the year with the result and remain atop the New England Collegiate Conference with a 6-1 mark. The Blazers improve to 6-14 overall and 2-5 in conference play with the win.
Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) netted a team-best 15 points while adding seven rebounds and three assists. Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.) poured in 12 points and Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) notched 11 points. David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) tallied 10 points and grabbed seven boards off the bench.
A quick 9-0 run gave the visitors a 9-3 edge with 16:45 left to play in the first half.
After the home team pulled even at 11-11, Eastern Nazarene regained a six-point lead, 19-13, with 9:03 remaining in the opening stanza on a layup by Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.).
The Lions widened the gap to 30-19 with nine unanswered points with 3:02 to go in the half.
Eastern Nazarene sported a 10-point advantage at the halftime break, 34-24, after shooting 48% from the field with two three-pointers on nine efforts.
Elms cut the deficit to 37-34 with 16:45 left in regulation on a bucket by D.J. Edelen.
The guests pushed their lead to 44-35 with 15:29 on the clock as Rice knocked down a jumper.
The Blazers narrowed the margin to 48-46 on a layup by Nikolas Brown with 10:01 remaining.
The Lions claimed a double-digit cushion with 2:57 to go in regulation as Rice sank a free throw, 65-55.
The hosts rattled off 12-consecutive points to vault ahead 67-65 with 1:12 left to play.
Eastern Nazarene knotted the score at 67-67 with 38 seconds to go in the contest on a pair of free throws by Crandell.
Elms responded with a corner three-pointer by Justin Feliciano to nab a 70-67 edge with 19 seconds on the clock before free throws by Feliciano and Edelen pushed the margin to 72-60.
The visitors trimmed the deficit to 72-69 as Cheney converted a pair from the charity stripe with four seconds remaining in regulation.
The Blazers sealed the victory with a two late free throws by Tahquell Cadel, stopping a six-game skid.
The Lions finished with a field-goal percentage of 38.6% while connecting on 25% of their three-point attempts on the day. The Blazers shot 43.1% from the floor and 53.3% from long distance in the game.
Edelen paced Elms with a game-best 20 points while Cadel contributed 12 points, six rebounds, five steals, and three assists.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene returns home to host Dean in a midweek matchup February 5.