CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Lesley University men's basketball team picked up their first New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) win tonight as they topped Newbury College 63-56 tonight at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols. The Lynx led by as many as 17 points in the second half, but had to hold off a late push from the Nighthawks that pulled the visitors to within two points with just 1:40 left. Lesley improves to 3-15 on the year and 1-9 in the conference while Newbury drops to 2-19 overall and 2-10 in the NECC.
The Lynx saw three players finish in double-figures, led by a team-high 14 points from freshman Trevonn Lewis (Chicago, Ill.) who added a game-high five assists to his line. Senior Mike Kaufman (Boca Raton, Fla.) chipped in with 13 points, 12 of which came in the opening twenty minutes. Kaufman finished just one rebound shy of recording a double-double, collecting nine caroms on the night including five off the offensive glass.
The Nighthawks received a game-high 23 points from senior Eric Watson (New Rochelle, N.Y.) who got hot down the stretch, dumping in 21 in the second half. Watson also swiped a game-high four steals on the defensive end. Junior Daniel Thelemaque (Somerville, Mass.) complemented Watson's offense with 11 points while classmate Cameron Owen (Concord, N.H.) finished with seven points and six boards.
With the game tied at 8-8 just four minutes into play, a Kaufman trey would spark a 9-2 run to give the Lynx their first lead of the game, 17-10. Kaufman and junior Justin Rosa (East Brunwick, N.J.) teamed up for all nine points on the streak. Later in the half, Lesley held a 26-20 advantage before a 10-0 push opened things up with a 36-20 edge.
Newbury would answer by scoring the final five points of the half to head into the locker room trailing 36-25.
The teams would exchange buckets to open the second half of play before another 8-0 spurt opened up their biggest lead of the game, 46-29. Lesley freshman Branden Padgett (New Baltimore, Mich.) accounted for half of the offense during the streak, dumping in four of his eight points on the night.
From there, Watson and the Nighthawks started to take over. Watson and freshman Daivon Edwards (Boston, Mass.) carried Newbury on an 11-2 run over the next 3:30 to cut the Lynx lead back down to single-digits, 48-40. Rosa would hit a big triple from the wing to halt the Newbury momentum and put the Lynx advantage back to 11 points, 51-40.
With 5:19 to go and Lesley holding a 55-45 lead, Watson would score seven straight points in 1:02 to pull the Nighthawks to three, 55-52. Once again, it was Rosa who would end Lesley's scoring drought by knocking down two free throws, but Watson had one final push in him knocking down a free thrown and driving the lane for a layup to cut the lead to two, 57-55. Watson's effort was too little, too late as the Lynx answered with a 6-1 run to hang on for the 63-56 victory.
Watson and Edwards accounted for 29 of Newbury's 31 second half points while Rosa tallied nine of his 12 in the second stanza for Lesley.
Lesley knocked down 39-percent (19-of-49) from the field on the night while holding the visitors to a 32-percent (17-54) shooting percentage. The Lynx also held the advantage down low, out-rebounding the Nighthawks by a 45-31 margin.
Both teams will be back in NECC action on Saturday, February 8th. The Lynx will celebrate Senior Day when they welcome Becker College at 2:00p while the Nighthawks will play host to Daniel Webster College at 12:00p.