Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team was sunk by a buzzer-beater from visiting Newbury College, 83-80, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) battle at Picknelly Arena Tuesday night. The Blazers move to 2-12 overall and 2-5 in the NECC, while Newbury picks up their first win to move to 1-5 in conference play and 1-11 on the season.
Tied 2-2 after the opening minute, the Nighthawks grabbed early control with 9-4 run, paced by five points from junior Jeduan Langston (Roxbury, Mass.), to take an 11-6 lead at the 14:51 mark. Back-to-back buckets from Elms senior Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) and freshman Diomanni Fernandez (Tamarac, Fla.) cut the deficit to 11-10, but the Nighthawks remained ahead with a 20-8 run over the next seven minutes, capped off by back-to-back treys from seniors Joshua Oliver (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.) and Ceejae Carter (Dorchester, Mass.) to hand Newbury a 31-18 advantage with 5:53 left in the first half. The Blazers roared back with an 11-0 run, featuring five points from senior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.), over the next three minutes to trim the gap to one possession, 31-29. The sides exchanged buckets down the stretch with Newbury taking a 38-35 lead into halftime.
The Nighthawks pushed their advantage early in the second half as a three-point play from Edwards handed Newbury a 46-39 lead at the 17:41 mark. Newbury extended their lead to double digits, 57-46, on a fastbreak layup from junior Daivon Edwards (Roxbury, Mass.) five minutes later, but the Blazers worked at the deficit with a 13-7 run, capped by a three-pointer from senior Trifon Bish (St. Catherine, Jamaica) to close the gap to 64-59 with 7:43 to play. The Nighthawks used a 6-0 to regain a double-digit lead, 70-59, but again Elms battled back with an 11-5 run and a pair of Smith free throws made it a 75-70 contest. Trailing 78-72, Bish put back an offensive rebound, and then Fernandez knocked down a three-pointer from the corner to trim the Nighthawks lead to 78-77 with 28 seconds to play. Free throws from Newbury senior Devin Johnson (Manchester, Conn.) extended the lead to 80-77, and on the ensuing possession, Smith drew a foul on a three-point attempt, and drained all three free throws to even the score at 80-80 with 18 seconds remaining. On the final possession, Langston penetrated, kicked the ball out the corner, where senior Kayvon Murray (Brockton, Mass.) swung it to Edwards, who buried the game-winning three-pointer to send the Nighthawks to the 83-80 victory.
The Blazers had four scorers in double figures, led by Ihearahu who logged his sixth double-double of the season with a team-high 25 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Cousar tallied 16 points with eight rebounds, while Smith netted 15 points with four rebounds and two assists. Bish contributed 10 points, six rebounds and a game-high five assists in the loss.
Edwards powered the Nighthawks with a game-high 32 points, connecting on six three-pointers, with five rebounds. Langston recorded 24 points, nine rebounds and five steals, while Johnson had nine points and Carter notched eight points with five rebounds.
The Blazers controlled the rebounding category (49-36) and points in the paint (50-44), while Newbury led in points off turnovers (30-10) and bench points (17-12). Elms connected on 44.8% (30-of-67) from the field, and 81% (17-of-21) from the foul line. The Nighthawks shot 43.5% (30-of-69) from the floor, including 36.4% (8-of-22) from three-point range, and 57.7% (15-of-26) from the free throw stripe.
The Blazers will look to return to the win column with a conference road trip to Southern Vermont Thursday night for a 7:00 p.m. tip. Newbury travels to Lesley University for a conference tip Thursday at 7:00 p.m.