Chris Kendrick (@CKendrick86)
CHICOPEE, Mass. – The Elms College men's basketball team suffered an 85-69 defeat to visiting Regis College in a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) clash at Picknelly Arena Saturday afternoon. With the loss, the Blazers slide to 4-18 overall, and 4-9 in the NECC, while the Pride improve to 5-9 in conference play, and 8-15 on the season.
The Pride controlled play early in the first half as a trio of three-pointers from freshman Dimitri Rosa (Tiverton, R.I.) pushed Regis to 13-2 lead at the 16:09 mark. After a layup from Regis freshman Shaun Wingfield (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) handed the Pride an 18-6 lead, the Blazers battled back behind six points from freshman Diomanni Fernandez (Tamarac, Fla.) and a trey from senior Trifon Bish (St. Catherine, Jamaica) trimmed the deficit 20-17 with 7:38 on the clock. Regis senior Chris Leak Jr. (New Haven, Conn.) netted ten straight points to extend the Pride advantage to 30-20. Elms used three-pointers from freshman DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, Md.) and Spencer Douglas (Hollywood, Fla.) to work the gap to 32-26, but the Pride closed the frame on a 10-3 run to take a 42-29 lead into halftime.
The Blazers came out hot in the second half, orchestrating a 9-0 run over the opening three minutes to cut the Pride lead to 42-38. The sides traded buckets over the next six minutes until a three-pointer from Wingfield staked the Pride to a 58-49 lead. Elms senior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) knocked down a pair of three-pointers to keep the Blazers within striking distance, 63-58 with 8:50 to go. Regis regained control over the next five minutes, executing a 15-3 run, featuring six points by sophomore Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.), to pull ahead 78-61. The Blazers were forced to foul down the stretch, and the Pride converted 7-of-8 free throws attempts to lock up the 85-69 victory.
The Blazers had three scorers in double figures led by Smith with a game-high 20 points, shooting 4-of-9 from three-point range, five rebounds and three assists. Cousar tallied 15 points with two rebounds, while Ihearahu contributed 13 points, eight rebounds, a career-high five assists, and four blocks. Fernandez and Douglas each added six points off the bench for Elms.
Afonja led the Pride attack with a team-high 16 points, shooting 5-of-6 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the foul line, and eight rebounds. Leak Jr. chipped in 15 points and nine rebounds, while senior Sam Jean-Gilles (Melrose, Mass.) notched 12 points and eight rebounds. Wingfield totaled 10 points, and sophomore Jordan Seldon (Everett, Mass.) produced eight points and five rebounds in the win.
The Pride edged the Blazers in rebounding, 40-26, and points in the paint, 36-24, while the Elms converted 19 points off turnovers to nine points by Regis. The Blazers connected on 42.4% (25-of-59) from the field, including 39.3% (11-of-28) from three-point range, and 66.7% (8-of-12) from the foul line. Regis shot 52.7% (29-of-55) from the floor, including 50% (9-of-18) from three-point, and 75% (18-of-24) from the free throw stripe.
The Blazers will look to return to the win column with an NECC road trip to Newbury for a tip Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. Regis hosts Lesley in NECC play Tuesday at 6:00 p.m.