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Sanchez's superb second sinks Mariners

Sanchez's superb second sinks Mariners

NEW LONDON, CT -- John Sanchez exploded for a career-high 30 points, 21 in the second half, as Lesley (7-9, 4-5) overcame a seven-point second half deficit in besting Mitchell College (5-11, 3-7) by the score of 73-67 Thursday night in NECC basketball action.

Sanchez started the Lynx rally, turning in a nearly perfect second half in which he shot 9-10 from the stripe, 2-2 from three-point land and 5-6 from the field. In all, he shot 13-14 at the line, 3-3 from downtown and 7-11 overall on a night to remember for the explosive 5-foot-8 guard.

The Lynx found themselves in a hole from the getgo, as Paul Jefferson's opening act of back-to-back three-pointers sparked a 10-3 Mariners run, forcing a Donald Morris timeout at the 16:48 mark of the frame. Mitchell led by as many as 10 for the remainder of the half, with Sanchez not scoring at all until the final 6:00, after which his nine points cut the midway margin to 33-28 and served as a preview of the performance to come.

A Jefferson jumper out of the half extended the lead to 35-28 before Sanchez beat the shot clock buzzer on a three-pointer on the ensuing possession. The jumper started a 14-2 run that took only 2:35 to compile and featured three pointers from three different players, including guards Matt Gibson and Bryant Itonyo. A Kris Bennett dunk capped the run, putting Lesley ahead 41-37 just inside the 17:00 mark.

The Mariners chipped away over the next several minutes, with an Alex Pires three lifting Mitchell back on top at the 11:00 mark, 51-50. A Terrance Fisher triple made it a 58-54 lead before another Lynx outburst turned the tables for good.

After a Bryant Itonyo three-pointer at 7:18 cut the margin to one, Sanchez scored seven points and forward Valentine Emebo added six points on three straight buckets in a 16-2 run spanning over five minutes and putting the Lynx in front 70-60 in the final 90 seconds.

Jefferson's third three of the night cut the lead to five in the final minute, but Sanchez hit three straight at the line to ice it.

In addition to his 30 points, Sanchez handed out a game-high eight assists and stole from Mariners ball handlers a game-best six times. Emebo finished with 10 points and eight rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench, and Itonyo earned his 15 points on 5-9 shooting from deep. For the game, Lesley shot 52 percent (12-23) from long-range.

Jefferson was the lone Mariners scorer in double-figures tonight, going for 15 on 3-7 three-point shooting. Fisher and Pires each added eight on 2-4 shooting from deep.

At 7-9 overall and 4-5 in the NECC, Lesley travels to Elms College on Saturday.