CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lesley University had their first semester finale spoiled by Becker College as the Hawks used a ferocious first half to power their way to a 75-68 victory in New England Collegiate Conference play tonight at the Nicholas Athletics Center.
The Hawks scored the first 19 points of the night and eventually built a lead by as many as 23 in the first half. Lesley would continue to chip away over the course of the final 30-minutes of action, trimming the lead down to as little as five in the second half, but were unable to catch Becker in the waning minutes.
The Hawks, winners of three straight, improve to 5-4 on the season and 2-0 in NECC play and will return to action on Friday in a non-conference tilt against Gordon College. Lesley wraps up their first semester at 6-3 overall and 2-1 in the conference and will be back on the floor when they host Norwich University on Monday, January 2nd.
Becker's backcourt duo of sophomore Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass.) and senior Kyle Credle (Queens, N.Y.) got off to a flying start as they combined to score 31 of the Hawks 37 first half points. Davis connected on his first five three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes while Credle added 16 in half, going 2-of-3 from deep and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free throw line. They each finished with 18 points in the game.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Credle created the Hawks biggest lead of the night at 29-6 at the 9:59 mark of the opening half before the Lynx started to claw their way back. Lynx sophomore Xeo Golding (Windermere, Fla.) and senior Devon Mayo (Newport News, Va.) knocked down three's on consecutive trips down the floor that ignited a 15-6 run that closed out the final ten minutes of the half and cut their deficit to 13-points, 37-24, heading into the locker room.
The momentum kept moving in favor of the hosts after the break as the Lynx started the second half on a 12-4 streak, dwindling the Becker lead to 41-36. The Hawks would have an answer – which would become a theme in the second half – and punched back with a 10-2 spurt of their own capped by back-to-back layups from freshman Antonio White Jr. (Middletown, Conn.).
Lesley would come within seven points on 11 different occasions throughout the remainder of the half, but each time Becker would answer back with a bucket of their own. Mayo drained a deep three with 5:48 left on the clock to make it a two-possession ballgame, 60-54, but the Lynx were unable to inch any closer as the Hawks delivered their first setback in conference play.
Mayo finished with team-highs of 17 points and six rebounds to go with four assists on the night while junior Marquise Johnson (Hampton, Va.) added 13 points, five boards, and four dimes. Golding dropped 13 points and pulled down four boards and freshman LaMarr Mitchell (Baltimore, Md.) came off the bench for eight points.
Davis and Credle also combined for 11 assists on the night while junior Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y.) poured in a game-best 20 points to go with six rebounds. White completed a double-double with 11 points and ten boards and senior Khairi Mosley (Elizabethtown, N.J.) added six for the Hawks.
Becker shot 46% (26-of-56) from the floor on the night while holding Lesley to 39% (23-of-59). The Hawks also held the edge on the glass, out-rebounding the Lynx 41-33. Lesley's bench outscored Becker's reserves 15-2.