Eastern Nazarene Fends Off Late Men's Basketball Rally

Eastern Nazarene Fends Off Late Men's Basketball Rally

QUINCY, Mass. – Senior Jaylyn Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) connected on 15-of-24 shots for a game-high 36 points to go along with eight rebounds, seven assists, and three steals as the Eastern Nazarene men's basketball team held off Wentworth Institute of Technology, 83-80, in Commonwealth Coast Conference action Saturday afternoon.

Winners of two straight the Lions improve to 15-6 overall and 9-5 in league play while the Leopards fall to 11-10 overall and also sit at 9-5 in conference play.

The hosts took a pair of early, four-point leads, however four straight Wentworth points evened the game at 6-all on a basket from senior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine). Five straight Lion points, which included an Owens three pointer, gave Eastern Nazarene an 11-6 lead with 16:35 left.

Wentworth got within three on two sophomore Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) free throws but Eastern Nazarene used an 18-4 run to take a 17-point lead on an Owens trifecta with 9:16 left. An 11-5 spurt by Wentworth made it an 11-point game (34-23) after a sophomore Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) basket. The Lions would extend their lead to as many at 16 late but a Ganley basket with 57 seconds left made it 43-29 at the break. Eastern Nazarane shot 58.6 percent from the floor in the opening frame.

Four points from Ganley and a basket from Therriault around an Owens basket made it an 11-poijnt game early in the second half before the Lions jumped ahead by 15 three minutes into the second half. An Owens three with 13:21 left made it a 54-42 game before the Leopards used a 16-6 run to cut the deficit to two after a layup from sophomore Ben Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.).

Eastern Nazarene built the lead to five with 8:45 left, however the Leopards battled back and tied the game at 71-all when Kizel buried a three with 4:39 remaining. The Lions led by as many as five on a pair of occasions, including when senior Lequan Gomes (Fairfield, Calif.) hit a second-chance layup off his own missed shot with 1:19 left. With 53 seconds left, senior Kyle Romich (Groton, Mass.) made a layup to 53 seconds left to make it 82-79. On the Lions next possession, they missed two shots and got both offensive rebounds. Owens was fouled and missed the free throw, which led to Romich hitting one of two free throws to make it a two-point game with eight seconds left.

Off the missed free throw junior Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) was fouled and hit one of two free throws, giving the Leopards a chance to tie the game. However, Owens made a steal just before time expired to clinch the win.

Both teams shot over 50 percent in the second half with the Leopards connecting on 17-of-27 shots (63 percent) and the Lions, who shot 56.7 percent for the game, made 17-of-31 shots in the second half.

In addition to Owens' 36 points, Gomes added 20 points and eight rebounds and Lynch had 12 points. Eastern Nazarene had a 36-31 rebounding advantage for the game.

Therriault scored a team-high 21 points (on 7-of-11 shooting which included 5-6 from behind the arc) to lead a trio of Leopards in double figures. Ganley had 19 points and eight rebounds and Romich had 17 points (on 6-for-9 shooting), five rebounds, and five assists.

Wentworth is at Gordon on Wednesday night. That same night Eastern Nazarene hosts Roger Williams.