CHICOPEE, Mass. – Elms College senior guard Daniel Gonzalez (East Windsor, Conn.) hit on 6 of 11 from three-point range and finished with a game-high 25 points and the Blazers fended off a late Newbury College run in the second half to post an 88-83 overtime victory in Saturday afternoon's New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) men's basketball game at Picknelly Arena.
With the win, Elms has now won 12 straight against Newbury and improves to 8-5 overall, 3-1 in conference play. The Nighthawks fall to 4-9 overall, 1-4 in league action.
Trailing 72-60 with 3:36 remaining in regulation, Newbury exploded for 12 unanswered points as Cameron Owen (Concord, N.H.) was electric off the bench converting on a jump shot and draining a pair three-pointers during the 12-0 run to tie the game at 72-72 with 44 seconds on the clock.
Elms had a pair of opportunities to take the lead in the finals seconds and the Nighthawks fired the last shot – a trey by Steve Rosemond (Everett, Mass.) – but the shot fell short as the sides were deadlocked after 40 minutes of play.
The Blazers used a triple by Gonzalez and one from junior guard Charles Bason (Riverdale, Md.) to help extend Elms' lead to as many as seven (86-79) with 44 seconds to play in the extra frame, before a strike from beyond the arc by Eric Watson (Chapel Hill, N.C.) cut the lead to 86-82 with 26 ticks left. Watson then hit the backend of two free throws with seven seconds remaining to set the score at 86-83 to make it a one-possession game, but Bason capped a perfect 6 for 6 effort at the stripe during the final five minutes to help the Blazers hold on for a 88-83 win.
Elms shot an impressive 45.2-percent from the floor and a superb 51.9-percent from three-point range including a 5 for 8 effort from three-point land by junior guard Andre French (Torrington, Conn.) who totaled 21 points in the win.
Senior guard Bryant Corcoran (Waterbury, Conn.) was also stellar in win, netting 16 points on 5 of 10 shooting from the field that included a pair triples and a perfect 4 for 4 from the free throw line. Junior forward David McDaniel (Plainfield, N.J.) added a team-high nine rebounds and swatted three shots, while Bason provided tremendous court vision with nine assists.
The Blazers led for the majority of the opening period and built its cushion to as many as 11 (37-26 with 3:58 to play) before Newbury begin chipping away at the lead.
Tim Young (Brockton, Mass.) hit a mid-range jumper to spark a 12-5 run that finished with a Rosemond swish from beyond the arc as time expired in the first period to pull the Nighthawks to within four at halftime, 42-38.
Elms increased its advantage back to double-digits after Gonzalez nailed a three and freshman guard Piere Simpson (Middletown, Conn.) converted a free throw to give the Blazers a 13-point, 53-40 lead before Newbury began to claw back.
The Nighthawks had four players score in double figures including Young who totaled 22 points on the strength of four three-pointers, while Rosemond also hit on four treys to amass 19 points.
Watson added 17 points and nine boards off the bench for Newbury who shot 38.4-percent from the floor, while Kwame Thompson (Brockton, Mass.) added 13. Rosemond and Jason Marshall (Fairburn, Ga.) each hauled in a game-best 10 rebounds in the losing effort.
Elms returns to NECC action on Tuesday, Jan. 17 when it hosts Southern Vermont College at 7:00 p.m. at Picknelly Arena.