Pilgrims Roar in Battle of NECC Top Seeds

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HENNIKER, N.H. – The New England College men's basketball team needed a strong second half to down the Lions of Eastern Nazarene College, 73-59.

With the win, the Pilgrims improve to 18-3 on the season with an 11-1 record in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC). The Lions will fall to 11-10 overall with a 8-4 record in the NECC.

Izaiah Winston-Brooks led all players in scoring with 20 points. Jason Jones added 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds for another double-double. Calvin Cheek had 14 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists for a near triple-double. He also had six steals. Ricky Leonard was the fourth Pilgrim in double figures as he finished with 14 points.

Josh Rice led the Lion offense with 15 points. Jacob Waldroop grabbed a team-high seven boards. Ricky Shearman added seven assists. Levi Grady-White had four steals for the Lions.

The Pilgrims controlled possession from the opening tip until their first basket which came 47 seconds into the contest by the hand of Jason Jones. Jones made a tough layup and was rewarded with a three-point play which he converted. However, Eastern Nazarene would respond with two three-pointers and an additional jumper to take the lead. The teams ran the floor for majority of the first half but Eastern Nazarene would extend their lead to as many as 10. But by the end of the half, the Pilgrims had cut the lead in half at 38-33. The Lions shot 46.4% from the field including a 54.5% from beyond the arc. The Pilgrims however shot 37.8% from the field.

Through the first nine minutes of the half, the Pilgrims outscored the Lions by a 25-9 margin including a 12-1 run that spanned over 3:49 of the half. During those nine minutes, the Pilgrims outshot the Lions 58.8% to 30.0%. The Pilgrims led by as many as 12 during the second half. The Lions cut the lead to as little as six but could never get closer. The tale of the contest was shooting percentage as the Lions shot 6-27 in the second half while the Pilgrims were 15-35.

-This is the 36th meeting all-time between the two schools in men's basketball. The Pilgrims lead the all-time series, 24-12.
-The Pilgrims swept the season series with a 83-65 win at Eastern Nazarene.
-Jason Jones has now recorded a double-double in back-to-back contests.

Saturday, February 2nd, at Mitchell College, 2:30 p.m.