NEW LONDON, CT -- John Sanchez converted on 17 free throws on 19 attempts, both Lesley records, as the Lynx kept their hopes playoff hopes afloat in an 84-77 victory at Mitchell Tuesday night.
Sanchez paced four Lynx in double figures, posting game-highs of 21 points and eight assists, while Thorton Paul followed with 18 points. Jesus Trejo and Harold Smith scored 13 and 12, respectively, helping Lesley outscore Mitchell 20-8 in the paint in the first half in opening up a 39-33 halftime lead.
The second of Paul's two three-pointers gave Lesley a 42-35 on the Lynx first possession of the second half, a frame Lesley led from end to end. The Mariners cut it to a one-point game on a short Alex Del Rio jumper and a pair of Tyler Blier free throws made it a 63-61 game with 6:38 remaining.
Trejo then sparked a Lynx 12-3 run that turned a one-possession game into a double-digit lead, scoring seven of his 13 in the stretch as Lesley opened up a 74-64 lead inside of 2:00. With the game now a test of free-throw attrition, the 6-foot-8 senior gave way to the 5-8 junior, and Sanchez calmly nailed eight straight freebies to ice the game, secure the Lesley free throw record and keep the Lynx shot at an NECC postseason birth alive.
For Lesley, Grant Cobb snatched a game- and career-high 12 rebounds, 11 at the defensive end, leading Lesley's 42-27 ownership of the glass. While Cobb only scored six points on 3-5 shooting, Lesley held a 42-30 advantage in points in the paint.
Sanchez's 17th free throw with 33 seconds remaining broke the record formerly held by Joseph Chatman, who went 16-17 on December 18, 2007 against Becker.
With a win on Saturday against Daniel Webster on Senior Night, Lesley can lock up the sixth and final NECC playoff spot.