Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
LEICESTER, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team stumbled against host Becker College, 77-60, in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at the Leicester Gymnasium Thursday night. The Blazers sit at 4-15 overall, and 4-8 in conference play, while Becker owns a 10-0 mark in the NECC and a 14-5 record on the season.
The Hawks controlled the scoreboard early in the first half, jumping to a 5-0 run en route to a 7-2 lead at the 16:01 mark. The Blazers responded with a 13-2 run over the next three-plus minutes, featuring back-to-back treys from junior Keeshaun King (Jacksonville, Fla.), to possess a 15-9 advantage. Becker used a trio of three-pointers from sophomore Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass.) to regain a 23-19 lead with 6:06 on the clock. Elms senior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) answered with a trey to cut the deficit to 23-22, but a three-point play from senior Kyle Credle (Queens, N.Y.) ignited a 13-5 run by the Hawks to push the lead to 36-27 at the break.
Becker extend their advantage into double digits in the early onset of the second half, paced by three three-pointers from Davis, to give the Hawks a 45-31 lead. After a pair of treys from Credle made it 51-35, the Blazers used three-pointers from King and buckets from Smith and senior Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) to trim the gap to 51-45 with 11:53 remaining. The Hawks began to pull away as a layup from junior Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y.) capped a 9-0 run to develop a 60-45 lead for Becker. Buckets from Ihearahu and Elms freshman Diomanni Fernandez (Tamarac, Fla.) chipped the gap to 62-52 at the 8:11 mark, but the Hawks outscored the Blazers 15-8 down the stretch to secure the 77-60 win.
The Blazers offense was paced by Smith with a team-high 23 points, adding five rebounds and five assists. Ihearahu registered his eighth double-double of the season with 13 points and a team-high 11 rebounds, while King netted a career-high 15 points, connecting on a career-high five rebounds, with three rebounds and two assists.
Davis poured in a game-high 27 points, connecting on nine three-pointers, with a pair of rebounds. Credle logged a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds, along with six assists. Freshman Antonio White (Middletown, Conn.) added 11 points and eight rebounds off the bench.
The Hawks edged the Blazers on the glass, 43-35, while the Elms bench outscored Becker, 17-11, during the contest. The Blazers converted 38.3% (23-of-60) from the floor, including 39.1% (9-of-23) from three-point range, and 62.5% (5-of-8) from the free throw stripe. The Hawks shot 44.3% (31-of-70) from the field, 44.4% (12-of-27) from three-point, and 37.5% (3-of-8) from the foul line.
The Blazers will look to return to the win column with a non-conference road trip to Western New England Monday for a 7:00 p.m. Becker hosts Lesley in NECC action Saturday at 1:00 p.m.