LEICESTER, Mass. --- The 2016-17 season came to a close for the Lesley University men's basketball team with a heart-breaking, 64-62, loss to the second-seeded Becker College Hawks in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Semifinals, Thursday evening.
Senior guard Devon Mayo (Newport, Va.) capped off a magnificent two-year career at Lesley, registering a double-double as he led the Lynx with a team-high 25 points and 11 rebounds. The Virginia native shot 9-of-19 from the flooring including five-of-11 from the outside. Junior guard Marquise Johnson (Hampton, Va.) followed up with 17 points while tallying seven rebounds. Sophomore forward Xeo Golding (Windermere, Fla.) chipped in nine points and five rebounds as the Lynx out-rebounded the Hawks, 47-25.
Becker senior guard Kyle Credle (Queens, N.Y.) led the second-seeded Hawks of Becker (18-8) with a game-high 29 points with three assists and three steals. Credle scored 17 of his points in the first half, accounting for nearly 50 percent of Becker's total scoring. Sophomore guard Kareem Davis (Lowell, Mass.) scored 12 points and dished out four assists while junior forward Samuel Durodola (Rosedale, N.Y.) finished with nine points and a team-high ten rebounds to go along with two blocks in just 27 minutes. Becker shot 25 of 32 at the free throw line, compared to five of 13 for Lesley.
In a high-scoring, back-and-forth first half, the Hawks looked poised to go into the locker room with the score knotted up at 35-35 but the Lynx had other answers. Junior guard Will Gibson (Melbourne, Fla.) knocked down a long-range two-point jumper with nine seconds left to send the Lynx into the locker room with the two-point, 37-35 lead.
Trailing at the half, the Hawks ground their way into a narrow lead, going up 60-54 off a three from Credle with 1:17 remaining in the game. However it did not stop the Lynx. Johnson made a layup to keep the Lynx alive. Then with 15 seconds left, Mayo buried a three to pull Lesley to within one at 62-61. With the Lynx forced to foul, Credle buried both free throws, and the game appeared to be over when the visitors turned it over with six seconds left. Durodola missed both of his free throws, however, and Lesley got another shot with four seconds left. Becker fouled to send Mayo to the line with 1.7 seconds remaining. The senior made the first shot then intentionally missed the second, attempting to give his team one last chance. But Credle secured the rebound to finally secure the victory.
The Hawks of Becker advance to play at top-seeded Southern Vermont College on Saturday in the NECC Championship game. It will be the sixth time in nine years that Becker, a founding member ongf the NECC, has reached the conference finals.