Top-Seeded Men's Basketball Holds Off #4 Eastern Nazarene, 82-76, to Advance to CCC Championship Game

Top-Seeded Men's Basketball Holds Off #4 Eastern Nazarene, 82-76, to Advance to CCC Championship Game
MILTON, Mass. – Top-seeded Curry College dominated the opening half against #4 Eastern Nazarene then withstood a furious second-half rally en route to an 82-76 victory in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) men’s semi-finals Thursday night in Milton. The Colonels now stand at 20-7 overall heading into the CCC Championship game against #2 Gordon at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday. The Lions see their overall season record slip to 18-9.

Curry controlled the entire first frame, holding ENC to 24.1% (7-29) shooting from the field, while also out-rebounding the Lions by 10 (26-16). Senior Sedale Jones (Pittsfield, Mass.) tallied 17 of his 21 total points over the first 20 minutes of action.

After Jones sank a three-pointer to open the scoring, ENC went on a 9-2 run capped off with a made layup by junior Brian Hard (Weymouth, Mass.) with 13:38 on the clock. Over the remainder of the opening frame, the Colonels outscored the Lions 40-9 and entered the break with a 45-18 edge.

ENC amassed 58 points during an impressive second-half rally, including 20 from freshman Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.). The Lions dominated the glass in the second half, 31-20, while keeping Curry at 38.1% (8-21) shooting from the floor.

The Colonels built their largest lead of the game (51-19) after junior Lambros Papalambros (Quincy, Mass.) converted a layup with 18:20 left in regulation. ENC slowly chipped away at the lead, cutting the deficit to six (76-70) with 1:08 on the clock.

The Lions made 2 of 4 free-throw attempts over the next 30 seconds to pull within four (76-72). Several seconds later, Papalambros answered with a made pair from the charity stripe to extend the lead back to six, but Owens responded with a converted layup with 22 seconds remaining to trim the deficit back to four (78-74).

Junior Carlos Ribeiro (Charlestown, Mass.) split a pair of free throws, allowing ENC to pull to within three (79-76) after Owens sank another layup with 13 seconds left. The Lions immediately fouled junior A.J. Stephens (Stamford, Conn.) to send Curry back to the line. Stephens sank both free throw attempts to ice the game as the Colonels went on to win, 82-76.

Sophomore Antonio Jones (Boston, Mass.) scored a team-high 22 points for Curry. Sedale Jones grabbed nine boards to go with his 21 points. Stephens recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds. Papalambros chipped in with 13 points, while dishing out a game-best six assists.

Owens finished with a game-high 23 points for the visitors. Freshman Eric Lynch (Alpharetta, Ga.) added 14 points and pulled down 11 boards to record the double-double. Seniors Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) and Max Barbosa (Dorchester, Mass.) contributed with 12 and 10 points, respectively.

The Colonels will host the Fighting Scots in Saturday’s championship game seeking their first league tournament title since 2008. Curry defeated Gordon twice during the regular season: 73-62 at Gordon on December 1, and 84-76 at home on January 26.