LEICESTER, Mass. -- The Elms College men's basketball team built a 39-30 halftime lead at defending NECC champion Becker College on Saturday, but the Hawks used a ferocious second-half rally to top the Blazers 78-59 in New England Collegiate Conference action.
The Blazers (0-12, 0-3 NECC) were led by sophomore guard DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, Md. / Charles H. Flowers) with 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting with four rebounds. Freshman guard Nikolas Brown (Wellington, Fla. / Wellington) scored all 12 of his points in the first half, hitting 4-of-6 from downtown with five rebounds.
Freshman forward Andre Peguero (Boynton Beach, Fla. / Somerset Academy) came up with eight points and five rebounds while freshman guard Dylan Bayles (Greenacres, Fla. / John Leonard) also scored eight points. Sophomore forward Pablo Ortiz (Newington, Conn. / Newington) chipped in with six points. Elms, who came into the game shooting just 30.2 percent from behind the three-point line, collectively shot 54.5 percent the arc on the day, hitting 12-of-22 from deep.
The Hawks (7-7, 2-1 NECC) were led by senior forward Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y. / Campus Magnet) with 27 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. Durodola scored 11 of his 27 points at the free throw line, where he was 11-of-12. Junior guard Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass. / St. John's) also scored 27 points for the Hawks, hitting 5-of-10 from 3-point range.
Elms used an 8-2 run to jump out to an early lead, a rally punctuated by a three-pointer from Brown with 15:49 to go in the first as the Blazers went ahead 8-4. That hot-shooting continued, as the Blazers hit 10 of their first 12 3s to open the game, with Brown making four of those baskets. The Blazers would go into halftime leading the Hawks 39-30.
After giving up the first basket of the second half, Becker got back into the game with an 8-0 run to pull to within three off a pair of free throws from Davis. Later in the final period, the Hawks trailed by five when they reeled off a 14-0 run to take their first lead since the opening seconds of the game, a stretch capped off by a layup from Durodola with 8:22 left to put Becker ahead 58-49. The resurgent Hawks pulled away, taking a 19 point lead off a three from Davis with five minutes remaining and the Blazers never threatened again.
Elms plays their next game on Tuesday when they host Dean College at 5:00 p.m. Becker will be back on the court on Tuesday when the team travels to Southern Vermont College for a 7:00 p.m. game.