SUFFOLK MEN’S BASKETBALL
Thursday, December 6, 2007
NEC Gymnasium, Henniker, N.H.
FINAL: NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE 66, SUFFOLK 65
HENNIKER, N.H.-- Senior Kingsley Onyechi’s (Lowell, Mass.) jumper with two seconds remaining lifted New England College to a 66-65 non-league college men’s basketball victory over Suffolk Thursday evening at NEC Gymnasium.
Onyechi’s heroics allowed the host Pilgrims (2-5) to escape with the win after the visiting Rams (1-7) had overcome a five-point deficit with just over three minutes remaining by scoring eight unanswered points in taking a 65-62 edge with 31 seconds to play on a three-pointer by junior Brian Small (Stoughton, Mass.). A pair of free throws by senior Ryan Jaziri (Norwich, Conn.) enabled New England College to close back to within one, and a pair of missed free throws gave the hosts possession back with 19 seconds left, setting up Onyechi’s game-winner that came off a rebound of a missed Jaziri jumper. Suffolk had a chance to win the game in the final seconds but missed a three-pointer as time expired.
The Pilgrims raced out to a 16-4 lead just 6:34 into the contest before settling for a 30-23 advantage at the break, but the Rams opened the second half by scoring 11 of the first 14 points after intermission to take a 34-33 lead on a jumper by sophomore Josh Teixeira (Braintree, Mass.) with 15:49 remaining. Suffolk took a five-point lead midway through the final 20 minutes of action (44-39) before New England College scored 11 straight to take a six point advantage on an Onyechi jumper with 6:16 to play, as the Pilgrims maintained that lead until the Rams’ 8-0 run in the closing minutes, setting up the frenetic finish in the final seconds of action.
Jaziri led New England College in the scoring column with 19 points, while freshman Joe Brown (Great Mills, Md.) added 18 points and six boards from the Pilgrims, which also received a double-double effort of 14 points and 10 rebounds from Onyechi. The hosts shot 38 percent from the field and overcame 22 turnovers on the night while shooting 80 percent (12-15) at the foul line.
Teixeira led all scorers with a double-double effort of 25 points and 13 rebounds in the setback for Suffolk, which also received 15 points, eight boards and three blocks from freshman Allan Ray (Lynn, Mass.). Sophomore Alan Jaziri (Norwich, Conn.), the younger brother of New England College’s Ryan, added nine points and five caroms for the Rams, who also received eight points and five rebounds from Small. The visitors shot 36 percent from the field and connected for five three-pointers, but Suffolk made only eight of 17 attempts from the charity stripe for the evening.
Suffolk closes out its first semester schedule on Saturday afternoon by heading across town to take on Emmanuel in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference outing that begins at 1:00 p.m., while New England College heads to Lyndon, Vt. on Saturday afternoon to take on Lyndon State in a non-league match-up that begins at 3:00 p.m.