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Men's Basketball Comeback Bid Falls Short

Men's Basketball Comeback Bid Falls Short

QUINCY, Mass. – Junior Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) scored 14 points to lead four Eastern Nazarene players in double figures as the Lions fended off a late charge by Wentworth Institute of Technology and won, 62-57, in a Commonwealth Coast Conference contest at the Lahue Center.

Winners of three straight, the Lions improve to 12-1 (5-1) on the season while the Leopards dropped their second straight to stand at 6-7 (4-2).

The Leopards jumped out to a 6-2 lead, thanks to baskets from seniors Ray Bessette (Dedham, Maine), John-Michael Fragnoli (Schenectady, N.Y.), and junior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine). Eastern Nazarene responded by outscoring Wentworth by a 12-5 margin over the next six minutes and took a 14-11 lead on a junior Corey Doran (Fairfield, Calif.) basket.

Holding a 17-14 lead, the Lions used an 11-2 run and upped their lead to 12 (28-16) when Doran buried a jumper with 6:11 left. Eastern Nazarene took a 36-21 lead on a junior Justin Wagner (Oklahoma City, Okla.) with 3:13 left and would up its lead to 20 (43-23). Freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) buried a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half to make it a 43-26 game.

The Lions maintained a double-digit lead throughout the opening stages of the second half and led by 19 (55-36) with 12:47 to play. However, Wentworth began to chip away, using a 13-0 run to close the gap to 55-49 on one of two free throws from Fulcar with 5:22 left. Freshman Ben Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) began the run with a three-point play and junior Tim Juitt (Wellesley, Mass.) hit a 3-pointer during that stretch.

Kizel cut the lead to four (58-54) when he drained a three with 3:12 to play before senior Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) converted a layup with 41 seconds left to extend the lead to six. However, freshman Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) brought the Leopards within three after he hit a trifecta with 11 ticks left. Wentworth fouled late but Owens' two free throws sealed the win.

Wagner scored 13 points for the Lions with junior Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) and Jarman scoring 11 apiece. Jarman also had 12 rebounds for a double-double.

Fulcar paced the Leopards with a dozen points and four assists. Freagnoli had 10 points and six rebounds, Juitt added eight points, and Therriault had 10 rebounds and five assists. After shooting 36.7 percent in the first half, the Black & Gold shot 44 percent over the second half and held the hosts to 25.9 percent.

Both teams continue CCC play on Thursday as Wentworth hosts Western New England and Eastern Nazarene is at Salve Regina.