CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Mitchell College senior Joshua Ford (Jersey City, N.J.) recorded a game-high 23 points and corralled 14 rebounds to lead the Mariners to an 84-80 victory over Lesley University tonight in New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) action at Buckingham, Browne, and Nichols. With the win, Mitchell moves to 4-3 on the year and a perfect 2-0 in NECC play while the Lynx fall to 1-6 on the year and 0-2 in the conference.
Ford, who also dished out six assists,recorded his seventh consecutive double-double to open up the season while classmate Alex Del Rio (New Britain, Conn.) chipped in with 14 points and five boards. Sophomore Frank Martin (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) was also in double-figures with 11 points while freshman Wyatt Springer (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) came off the bench for nine points, including going 2-of-2 from beyond the arc.
Junior Nikalus Oliver (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) dumped in a career-high 22 points to lead the Lynx while senior Mike Kaufman (Boca Raton, Fla.) went 4-of-7 from deep on his way to 14 points. Freshman Trevonn Lewis (Chicago, Ill.) came off the bench for 15 points and six rebounds while senior Kris Bennett (Inglewood, Calif.) finished with six points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Mariners opened up play by rallying to a 13-0 lead over the first 3:30 of action. Del Rio accounted for much of the production, scoring six of his 14 during the streak. The Lynx would answer right back with a 12-3 run that cut the lead back to three, 15-12.
With 9:10 to go in the opening half, a Ford steal and layup gave the visitors a 26-18 lead and sparked a 9-2 run, pushing the lead to 15.
Back-to-back Rosa jumpers would cut the Lynx deficit to 10, 40-30, with just under two minutes before the break, but the Mariners finished the half on a 7-2 spurt to carry a 47-21 edge at the break.
Mitchell shot nearly 60% (19-of-34) in the opening half including an impressive 45.5% (5-of-11) from three point range while holding the Lynx to a 33% (10-of-30) shooting percentage and a paltry 12.5% (1-of-8) from deep.
The Lynx quickly cut the lead back to single-digits thank to three straight triples from Rosa and Kaufman, but Mitchell junior Alex Pires (Valhalla, N.Y.) knocked down a big trey of his own to halt the Lesley run.
With 10:04 to go, an Oliver basket sparked a 7-0 run for the Lynx to climb within five, 57-52. Mitchell quickly stopped the Lesley momentum once again as freshman Marcus Vereen (Stratford, Conn.) and Ford teamed up to score six of the next eight points, extending the Mariner lead back to 63-54.
Mitchell would continue on the gas, pushing their advantage to 14 with 3:22 left in the game following a Frank triple and layup from sophomore Devonta Mosley (Gainesville, Fla.).
Lesley continued to battle back as they went on an 8-0 run capped by a thunderous slam by Lewis to cut the lead to 75-69 with 1:49 to go.
The Lynx would climb to within four with 19-seconds remaining after Kaufman hit a baseline jumper, but the Mariners would hang on for the 84-80 victory.
Mitchell received clutch free throw shooting down the stretch as they hit 5-of-7 from the stripe in the final 36-seconds.
The Mariners shot 50.8% (31-of-61) from the floor including knocking down 41% (9-of-22) from downtown. The Lynx, who hit 50% (18-of-36) of their field goal attempts, finished the game with a 42.4% (28-66) shooting percentage while hitting 36.8% (7-of-19) of their three point attempts.
The Lynx will return to action on Thursday when they play host to Framingham State in a non-conference tilt at 8:00p while the Mariners will continue NECC action on Tuesday when Daniel Webster College will travel to New London, Conn. for a 5:30 start.