CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lesley University junior guard Justin Rosa (East Brunswick, N.J.) registered a game-high 21 points to lead the Lynx to their third consecutive win with a 70-59 decision over Wheelock College in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action tonight at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols. With the win, the Lynx improve to 5-15 overall and 3-9 in the NECC while the setback drops the Wildcats to 2-20 on the season and 1-12 in league play.
Rosa finished an efficient 8-of-13 shooting night from the field including a 2-of-3 mark from beyond the arc. Complementing Rosa's offense was freshman Trevonn Lewis (Chicago, Ill.) who chipped in 17 points and three rebounds. Senior Mike Kaufman (Boca Raton, Fla.) turned in his first career double-double with 11 points and 12 boards while classmate Kris Bennett (Inglewood, Calif.) joined Kaufman in double-digit rebounds, corralling ten of his own.
Freshman Derek Fournier (Johnston, R.I.) led the Wildcats attack knocking down five treys on his way to a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds. Senior Paul Coucci (Dartmouth, Mass.) was also in double-figures for the visitors, finishing with 15 points while freshman Anthony Williams (White Plains, N.Y.) finished with eight points and six boards. First year point guard Nicholas Fenton (East Hartford, Conn.) led all players with seven assists to go with his four points and five boards.
Lesley held a distinctive advantage down low, out-rebounding Wheelock by a 45-32 margin while doubling their points in the paint, 44-22. The Lynx' 14 offensive rebounds led to 17 second change points on the night.
The teams played a back-and-forth first half that saw six lead changes. A Fournier trey with 12:09 capped a 7-0 spurt by the Wildcats to go gave them their biggest lead of the night, 14-7. The Lynx would chip away at the lead, eventually tying things up at 21-21 six minutes later, but Wheelock added four straight points to stay in control, 25-21.
With 2:30 to go before the break, another Fournier triple would give the visitors a 30-27 edge, but the Lynx would close out the half on a 4-0 run – all coming from the free throw line – to take a 31-30 lead into halftime.
The Lynx took control quickly in the second stanza, opening up a 15-2 run over the first 6:43 of play to take a commanding 46-32 advantage. Five different players chipped in with points on the streak, but it was Rosa who carried the offense with seven, including a trey on Lesley's second possession of the half to kick start the run.
Lesley played comfortable with a lead for the remainder of the half. Wheelock trimmed the lead down to seven following a 9-4 streak with 1:24 to play, but Lesley got consecutive put-backs from Nikalus Oliver (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) and Kaufman to seal the 70-59 victory.
The Lynx will look to push their winning streak to four games on Wednesday, February 12th when they host Salem State in a non-conference affair at 8:00p. The Wildcats will be back in NECC action on Wednesday as they will travel to Newbury College for a 5:00p start.