CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Lesley University junior Marquise Johnson (Hampton, Va.) came up with a huge steal with just nine seconds left before senior Devon Mayo (Newport News, Va.) drained a free throw to ice the game as the Lynx outlasted Regis College 61-58 in a grueling New England Collegiate Conference matchup tonight at the Nicholas Athletics Center.
Lynx senior Pierre St. Simon (Farmingdale, N.Y.) finished a contested layup in the low post – in what turned out to be the game-winning basket – to give the hosts a 60-58 lead with just over a minute to play. Lesley then displayed some tough defense down the stretch by forcing two Regis turnovers in the waning moments to seal the victory.
Active hands forced an errant Regis pass that sailed out of bounds with 37-seconds left on the clock. With an opportunity to stretch the lead to two possessions, St. Simon was called for an offensive foul that gave the Pride another opportunity to tie. After a Regis timeout with only 20-seconds to go, Johnson was able to swipe the ball away from underneath the basket forcing the Pride to foul. Mayo would knock down 1-of-2 from the line before a Hail Mary three-ball attempt sailed wide to preserve the Lesley win.
The Lynx improve to 13-6 on the season – one win shy of tying the single-season program record - and 7-3 in NECC play. The loss drops the Pride to 6-11 overall and 3-5 in the conference standings.
Both sides featured a balanced scoring attack as 16 total players registered points on the night.
Sophomore Xeo Golding (Windermere, Fla.) led the Lynx with a team-best 17 points while Mayo came off the bench for 12. Johnson added 11 points, five assists, and two steals and St. Simon finished with seven points and a team-high seven boards. Freshman LaMarr Mitchell (Baltimore, Md.) and sophomore Joey Martin (Melbourne, Fla.) each added five points.
Regis sophomore Jordan Seldon (Everett, Mass.) registered a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds while senior Chris Leak Jr. (New Haven, Conn.) finished with13 points and eight boards. Fellow senior Sam Jean-Gilles (Melrose, Mass.) added eight points, nine rebounds, and four assists and classmate Jaiwon Martin (Coral Springs, Fla.) went for seven points, three rebounds, and a pair of assists.
The game was back-and-forth all night as there were 12 ties and six lead exchanges while neither side built up an advantage of more than seven points.
Lesley would trail by two with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock in the first half, but Johnson received the inbounds pass and raced down the floor for a quick two to even the score at 26-26 heading into the locker room.
After exchanging a pair of buckets to open the second, the Pride went on a 10-4 spurt capped by back-to-back layups from Jordan Seldon and Leak Jr. to open their biggest lead of the second half, 40-34.
Mayo would quickly bring the Lynx back to within one as he powered a brief 5-0 spurt with a layup followed by a three-point and-one at the 12:21 mark.
Later in the half with four minutes to go, another Leak Jr. basket in the paint gave the Pride a one-point edge, 56-55, before Martin answered with a three from the wing to put the lead back in the hands of the Lynx – one they would not relinquish.
Jean-Gilles would even the score at 58-58 to finish off a possession that was extended by two Regis offensive rebounds, but the Lynx would punch right back with St. Simon's aforementioned layup before Lesley would spoil the Pride's final two possession with lockdown defense.
Regis shot 45% (26-of-58) on the night and dominated down low, holding a 44-27 edge in rebounds and 40-30 advantage in points in the paint. Lesley made up for it by forcing 20 Pride turnovers and turning them into 15 points while also holding a distinct advantage at the foul line. The Lynx hit 61% (17-of-28) from the line compared to just 50% (5-of-10) converted attempts for the Pride.
Lesley will return to their home floor on Saturday when they welcome Southern Vermont College in another big NECC contest at 7:30p. Regis will kick off a three-game homestand on Thursday when they play host to Wheelock College at 8:00p.