Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team suffered a last-second loss to visiting Becker College, 72-71, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at Picknelly Arena Tuesday night. The Blazers dip to 1-10 overall, and 1-3 in conference play, while Becker rises to 3-0 in the NECC and 7-5 on the season.
The Hawks controlled the scoreboard early in the first half, grabbing a 12-2 lead after freshman Antonio White Jr. (Middletown, Conn.) put back an offensive rebound at the 15:08 mark. The Blazers settled in and battled back behind eight points by senior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) to trim the Hawks advantage to 16-15 with 12:13 on the clock. After back-to-back three-pointers from Becker sophomore Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass.) rebuilt a 26-19 lead for Becker, the Blazers used four points from freshman DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, Md.) to make it a 28-25 game. Down the stretch, a three-point play from White and a trey from Davis push Becker's lead to double digits, 35-25, but Smith and junior Chris Connolly (Westbrook, Maine) delivered late three-pointers to cut the Hawks advantage to 37-31 at the break.
The Hawks outscored the Blazers, 8-7, to open the second half to maintain a 45-38 lead with 16:29 to play. Smith netted five straight points to rally the Blazers, and then senior Trifon Bish (St. Catherine, Jamaica) buried a three-pointer at the 13:37 mark to give the Elms their first lead, 48-47. Trailing 52-49, the Hawks regained the lead with a 10-1 run, fueled by six points from White, over the next four minutes to pull ahead 59-53. Elms freshman Jared Kyle (Plantation, Fla.) and Smith connected from long range to put the Blazers within a possession, 61-59, with 5:51 to play. White converted five consecutive points to help Becker remain ahead, 69-64, with under two minutes on the clock.
After knocking down a pair of free throws, Smith buried a contested three-pointer with nine seconds to play to give Elms a 71-70 lead. On the final possession, Davis raced down the floor, drove the lane and found junior Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y.) in the post for the game-winning layup to send Becker to the 72-71 win.
Smith paced all scorers with a game-high 32 points, connecting on eight three-pointers, with five rebounds and four assists. Senior Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds, while Cousar added nine points and seven rebounds.
White powered the Hawks with a double-double effort of 24 points and a game-high 17 rebounds. Senior Kyle Credle (Queens, N.Y.) tallied 18 points, five rebounds and four assists, while Davis netted 14 points and five rebounds. Durodola grabbed 11 rebounds with nine points in the win.
The Hawks controlled the glass, 47-33, and points in the paint, 30-22, during the contest. The Blazers connected on 40% (26-of-65) from the floor, including, 44.8% (13-of-29) from three-point range, and 46.2% (6-of-13) from the free throw line. Becker shot 42.6% (23-of-54) from the field, 27.3% (6-of-22) from three-point, and 76.9% (20-of-26) from the charity stripe.
The Blazers will look to return to the win column Thursday when they host Lesley University in conference action at Picknelly Arena at 7:00 p.m. Becker hosts Regis College in NECC play Thursday with a 7:30 p.m. tip.