CAMBRIDGE, MA – Lesley University (3-7, 0-3) fell 68-49 to visiting Elms College (7-4, 2-0) in New England Collegiate Conference men's basketball play Saturday night at the Nicholas Athletics Center.
Lead guard Andre French (Torrington, CT/Torrington) led all player with 14 points, eight assists and six steals for the first-place Blazers, which got 13 points in 16 minutes off the bench from senior reserve Daniel Gonzalez (East Windsor, CT/East Windsor).
After an unseasonably warm afternoon in Cambridge, both teams came indoors and started out ice cold. Through the first 11:20 the teams combined for only 18 points, with Elms taking a 10-8 lead on a David McDaniel (Plainfield, NJ/Rutgers Prep) layup at the 8:37 mark. An Alex Perez (San Diego, CA/La Jolla Country Day) layup brought the Lynx to within 12-10 before the Blazers ignited thanks to some timely shooting from Walter Mfuko (Amherst, MA/Wilbrahamson and Monson).
The junior guard came off the bench and canned three-pointers on back-to-back possessions during a 10-0 Elms run that opened up a 22-10 lead, and the Blazers led by eight or more the rest of the half. Despite shooting only 33 percent for the period, Elms went into the intermission with a 32-19 lead thanks to a defense that held the Lynx to a paltry 18 percent shooting from the floor.
Lesley opened the second half with a Kris Bennett (Las Vegas, NV/Durango) two-handed dunk on a feed from Justin Rosa (East Brunswick, NJ/Marist High) to get within 11. The Blazers then sped off on an 18-4 run spanning six-plus minutes in moving ahead 50-25 and putting the Lynx away for good. French scored 10 of his 14 after half as Elms held on to a share of first place, staying perfect at 2-0 in league play.
The NECC's leading shooter at over 64 percent entering the game, Bennett hit 5-6 from the floor for a team-high 12 points to go along with a team-best seven rebounds. Point guard John Sanchez (Carson, CA/Saint John Bosco) overcame a 2-13 shooting night and made 7-9 at the stripe for 11 points, and fellow senior Bryant Itonyo (Medford, MA/Medford) converted on 3-6 from downtown for nine points.
Lesley takes on Newbury College for the second time in four league games in Cambridge Tuesday night, which is when Elms hosts a rematch of last season's NECC Championship against visiting Becker College.