CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior guard Devon Mayo (Newport News, Va.) sent the Lesley University men's basketball team back to the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) semifinals for the first time in six years, Tuesday evening. Mayo drained a three-point jumper with three seconds left on the game clock as the third seed Lynx defeated the sixth seed Regis College Pride, 69-68, in the first round of the 2017 NECC playoffs.
The Lynx had full control of the game, never relinquishing the lead until the last two minutes of the contest. After Pride senior forward Sam Jean-Gilles (Melrose, Mass.) pulled Regis to within a score, 64-62, Lesley junior guard Marquise Johnson (Hampton, Va.) answered with a lay-up of his own on their next possession to make it a two-score game. However, the Lynx lead quickly evaporated.
Regis junior guard Julio Galay (Bronx, N.Y.) ignited a 6-0 run following a put-back lay-up from Jean-Gilles to pull the Pride to within two points, 66-64. At that point, momentum abruptly shifted from the Lynx to the Pride. The Pride dominated the offensive glass over following 32 seconds with three offensive rebounds culminating in a Jean-Gilles lay-up to give Pride their first lead, 68-66, with 51 seconds left.
It appeared as if everything was going the Pride's way. Sophomore guard Ademola Afonja (Staten Island, N.Y.) rejected a lay-up attempt from Johnson on their next possession. Regis looked poised to add to their two-point advantage with 13 seconds left but a jumper from sophomore guard Jordan Seldon (Tiverton, R.I.) was just off the mark.
Lesley sophomore forward Joey Martin (Melbourne, Fla.) battled bigger Pride defenders to come down with the defensive board and pushed the ball back up the court. As seconds dripped off the clock, Johnson flipped the ball to Mayo just behind the three-point line. No time to think, Mayo released a deep three-point jumper as the ball sank through the net to give the Lynx the one-point, 69-68, lead with three seconds remaining.
The Lynx were aided by a Pride turnover on their next possession when they were unable to find an open man on the inbounds pass. Despite missing two free throws with two seconds left on the clock, the Lynx held on for the one-point victory and a chance to meet Becker College in the NECC Semifinals.
Johnson led three Lynx in double figures netting 15 points while Mayo was one off the mark, tallying 14 points – 12 from beyond the arc. As a team the Lynx shot35.5% from long distance including shooting nine threes in the first half as they lead 40-33 at the break. Martin came one rebound shy of a double-double tallying 10 points and nine boards to round out the Lynx in double digits.
Afonja came off the bench to lead all scorers with a game-high 24 points – 15 points in the second half as the Pride outscored the Lynx 35-29 in the second. Senior forward Chris Leak, Jr. (New Haven, Conn.) followed up with 14 points while Jean-Gilles rounded out the Pride trio in double figures recording a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Lesley improves to a program-best 16-10 and move on the face #2 Becker College, Thursday February 23rd. at 7:00 p.m. The season ends for Regis falling to 9-17.