CHICOPEE, Mass. – Lesley University junior Devon Mayo (Newport News, Va.) and senior Chris Barletta (Valrico, Fla.) each set career-highs in points while junior Pierre St. Simon (Farmingdale, N.Y.) set a new personal-best in rebounds, but it was not enough to subdue an Elms College second half comeback as the Blazers downed the Lynx 83-75 in New England Collegiate Conference action tonight at Picknelly Arena.
Mayo continued his torrid pace at the offensive end, finishing with 18 or more points for the fourth straight game as he led all scorers with 27 points to go along with six boards. Barletta chipped in with 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the floor while St. Simon registered his first career double-double with 13 points and a game-best 15 rebounds.
The Lynx fall to 2-12 overall and 1-4 in NECC play with the loss while the Blazers, who notched their third straight conference win, improve to 6-7 on the year and 4-1 in league standings.
The Blazers grabbed an early 9-1 advantage in the opening four minutes of play, but the Lynx battled back behind a 10-3 run over the next two minutes to trim the deficit to 12-11 with 14:17 on the clock. The Lynx continued to chip away and a layup from junior Terrell Toney (Lakewood, Wash.) knotted the game at 19-19 at the 10:34 mark. The Lynx pushed their lead to 25-21, but a layup from Elms senior Jerry Buchanon (Windsor, Conn.) regained a 26-25 advantage for the Blazers. Trailing 30-29, the Lynx took back the lead, closing the half on a 10-5 run powered by five straight points from Mayo to send the Lynx into the break with a 40-34 lead.
The Blazers opened the second half with back-to-back buckets from junior Symon Smith (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and a free throw from sophomore Devonte Marshall (Springfield, Mass.) to pull within two points, 42-40. Lesley would respond with an 8-0 spurt capped by a jumper by freshman William Cuffee (Amherst, Mass.) to match their biggest lead of the night at 50-42.
A pair of three's by Elms sophomore Keeshaun King (Jacksonville, Fla.) would spark a 15-4 run over the next six minutes, rebuilding a 57-54 lead for the Blazers, which they wouldn't relinquish. Elms continued to push the ball offensively, extending their lead to 70-60 over the next three minutes, fueled by seven points from Buchanon. A pair of free throws from Smith with 3:29 remaining gave the Blazers their largest lead of the game, 74-61.
The Lynx mounted one last rally, orchestrating a 14-5 run in a four-minute span, to trim the deficit to 79-75 with 25 seconds to play. With the Lynx forced to foul, Smith converted four straight free throws in the final seconds to secure the 83-75 victory.
The Blazers had four scorers amass double-digit point totals, led by a team-high 25 points and six rebounds from Buchanon. Smith tallied 19 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while sophomore Andre Wright (Danbury, Conn.) added 11 points, jarring a trio of three-pointers. Junior Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) chipped in 10 points and six rebounds, while senior Jamaal Gary (Bloomfield, Conn.) grabbed a team-high seven rebounds off the bench.
Toney added seven points and four assists for the visitors while Cuffee and senior Corbin Polec (Okemos, Mich.) each came off the bench for four points.
The Lynx edged the Blazers on the glass, 35-34, during the contest. Elms connected on 49% (24-of-49) from the floor, including 50% (7-of-14) from three-point range, and 70% (28-of-40) from the free throw stripe. Lesley shot 47.5% (28-of-59) from the field, 29.4% (5-of-17) from three-point, and 60.9% (14-of-23) from the foul line. Elms was hot from the floor in the second half, hitting on 68% (13-of-19) of their shots over the final twenty minutes.
Lesley will return to action with a home NECC tilt against Mitchell College on Saturday at 5:00p. The Blazers will play host to Regis College at Picknelly Arena at 1:00p on Saturday.