BRISTOL, R.I. – A three-pointer by Jaylen Owens with 4.1 seconds remaining vaulted Eastern Nazarene College past the Roger Williams University Men’s Basketball team 56-55 Tuesday evening.
The Lions overcame a poor shooting in the second half to win its first contest of 2015. Eastern Nazarene missed five of six shots from the field over a seven-minute stretch but managed to come through with the road win.
Roger Williams played strong defensively all evening long, holding the Lions to a .340 field goal percentage (18-of-53) in the game, their second-worst shooting performance of the season. The Hawks were aided early on by a 12-point first-half performance by Josh McCourt (Lincoln, R.I.).
Trailing 29-24 at halftime, the Lions slowly cut into the Hawks’ lead at the beginning of the second period. Owens managed to knot the game at 35, then later gave Eastern Nazarene the lead thanks to a pair of three-pointers.
Josh Syska (Peabody, Mass.) answered with a trey of his own, putting the Hawks back on top 40-38 with 9:43 to play. Though the Lions got four points on free throws, they went scoreless from the field over the following six minutes while RWU built its lead to eight.
Eastern Nazarene managed to pull within two with just under a minute to play, then began putting the Hawks to the free throw line for the double bonus. Though Syska hit his first two at the line, the Hawks would go 1-of-2 at the stripe at their next four attempts.
Trailing by five, Owens knocked down a jumper with 42 seconds left to bring Eastern Nazarene within three, then within one with 24 seconds left. After the Hawks split another pair of free throws, Eastern Nazarene brought the ball up, with Owens finding an open look on the left side of the arc and buried the eventual game-winning shot with under five seconds left.
With no timeouts left, the Hawks’ Andrew Wasik (Gainesville, Fla.) heaved a desperation shot from just inside half-court, but had it clank off the back iron.
Owens led all scorers with 23 points along with four steals and five rebounds. Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) finished with 12 points, while Alex Jarman (Portsmouth, R.I.) had eight points and ten rebounds before fouling out.
McCourt and Ryan Palumbo (Warwick, R.I.) each finished with 12 points, while Palumbo tied a career-high with six steals. Syska chipped in with nine points while Alex Puzone (North Haven, Conn.) added seven points and three boards off the bench.
On Thursday, Roger Williams (4-7, 2-2 CCC) heads to Endicott College while Eastern Nazarene (10-1, 3-1 CCC) hosts Wentworth Institute of Technology.