CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lesley University saw their two game winning streak come to an abrupt halt as Elms College pulled away in the second half to down the Lynx 97-82 in New England Collegiate Conference play tonight at the Picknelly Arena.
Five Lynx finished in double-figures but it was not enough to offset a monster night from Elms senior Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) who finished with 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting to go with 20 rebounds.
Lesley senior Devon Mayo (Newport News, Va.) and junior Will Gibson (Melbourne, Fla.) each knocked down four three's to finish with 15 points apiece for the visitors while junior Marquise Johnson (Hampton, Va.) added 13 points and six assists. Senior Pierre St. Simon (Farmingdale, N.Y.) poured in 11 points and sophomore Joey Martin (Melbourne, Fla.) finished with 10 points and six boards. Sophomore Xeo Golding (Windermere, Fla.) added seven points for the Lynx.
Elms senior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) aided Ihearahu with 23 points while freshman DeAngelo Cousar (Bowie, Md.) finished 7-of-9 from the floor for 17 points. Senior Tifon Bish (St. Catherine, Jamaica) added 16 points and seven boards for the hosts.
The Blazers were read hot from the floor and finished at 53% (37-of-70) from the field while dominating down low, outscoring the Lynx 58-28 in the paint. Lesley shot 42% (28-of-67) on the night while the bench outscored the Elms reserves 24-11. Elms held a slim 45-40 rebounding advantage but were able to turn 14 Lesley turnovers into 20 points.
Trailing 14-11 at the 13:18 mark of the first half, Lesley would use the three-ball to go on a 13-5 run and open up their biggest lead of the game, 24-16, over the next seven minutes of play. Mayo, Gibson, and freshman LaMarr Mitchell (Baltimore, Md.) all connected from long distance before sophomore William Cuffee (Amherst, Mass.) capped the run with a jumper off a Gibson feed.
The Blazers would regain control and use a thunderous 17-0 streak to jump back in front 33-24. Elms hit on 5-of-8 of their shots during the stretch that was started with a triple from junior Chris Connolly (Westbrook, Maine) before Ihearahu put the final touches on the spurt with a deep connection of his own.
Lesley would claw back over the final 90-seconds of the first with a 9-3 burst to cut the deficit to three, 36-33, when the teams went into halftime.
Back-to-back buckets from St. Simon gave the Lynx a one-point edge out of the gate in the second, but once again the Blazers would respond with a 10-2 run over the next four minutes behind four points by Bish to possess a 46-39 lead.
The Lynx whittled the deficit to a single possession, 48-46, but the Blazers orchestrated another 13-4 run, capped by a steal and fast-break dunk from Ihearahu, to rebuild a 61-50 advantage. A layup from Ihearahu at the 6:01 mark gave the Blazers their largest lead of the game, 78-59.
Lesley refused to fold down the stretch, going on a 20-9 run over the next four-plus minutes, paced by six-point efforts from Mayo and Gibson, to cut the gap to 87-79 with 1:32 to play. A pair of free throws from Golding made it a two-possession game, 87-81, but the Blazers held off the Lynx behind free throws from Ihearahu to secure the 97-82 victory.
The Lynx will look to get back in the win column on Saturday when they travel to Mitchell College for a 1:00p NECC Contest, while the Blazers will hit the road to Regis College for a 3:00p start.