QUINCY, Mass.- Despite a career-high 31-point performance by senior Noah Cheney (Bend, Ore.), the Eastern Nazarene College men's basketball team suffered a narrow 83-82 setback to Dean Wednesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center.
The Lions dip to 11-10 on the season and 6-2 in the New England Collegiate Conference with the result. The Bulldogs improve to 9-12 overall and 5-3 in league play with the win.
To go with his 31-point effort, Cheney chipped in with three assists and two steals on the night. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) poured in 17 points and grabbed five boards. Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) tallied 12 points and seven boards. Ricky Shearman (Acworth, Ga.) finished with 10 points and four assists. Jacob Waldroop (Newland, N.C.) registered five points, five boards, five assists, and a pair of blocks.
The visitors grabbed an eight-point edge with 13:26 remaining in the first half on a pair of free throws by Jordan Booker, 20-12.
Dean pushed its advantage to 12 points, 31-19, after a trey by Booker capped off a 7-0 run with 6:46 left to play in the opening frame.
The Bulldogs stretched the margin to 51-34, their largest lead of the contest, on a layup by Ozwaldo Terrazas.
The home side cut the deficit to 51-38 heading into the intermission after Waldroop splashed a three-pointer just before the halftime horn.
Eastern Nazarene sported a field-goal percentage of 52% at the break while draining 5-of-11 from three-point range. Dean shot 58.8% from the floor and 38.5% from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Lions narrowed the gap to 64-60 with 10:38 remaining in regulation on a trey by Cheney.
Dean extended its lead to nine, 71-62, as Jordan Lynch-Rexroth knocked down a mid-range jumper with 8:40 on the clock.
The hosts knotted the game at 78-78 with 3:22 left to play on a three-pointer by Rice.
After a layup by Waldroop leveled the score at 80-80, Crandell converted a pair of free throws to give Eastern Nazarene a two-point lead with 1:02 to go.
The Bulldogs reclaimed a one-point edge late in the game as Traijan Powell drilled a corner-trey, 83-82, to secure Dean's its fifth-straight victory.
The Lions shot 49.1% from the floor and connected on 11-of-24 from behind the arc. The Bulldogs posted a field-goal percentage of 50.7% on the night to go with 37.5% shooting from the perimeter.
Booker paced Dean with 28 points, eight steals, and seven assists while Lynch-Rexroth contributed 16 points and Powell netted 13 off the bench.
Up next, Eastern Nazarene travels to Becker February 8.