CHICOPEE, Mass. -- The Elms College Men's Basketball shot a season-high 54.1 percent against New England College on Saturday, but the outcome was not what the Blazers were hoping for, falling 94-80 to the Pilgrims in New England Collegiate Conference play.
The Blazers hit shots from inside the arc in the first half, going 16-for-29 (55.2 percent) from the field including 13-of-19 (68.4 percent) from 2-point range before the break. But while Elms (0-10, 0-3 NECC) was hitting close range shots, the Pilgrims were hitting 3s from all over the floor. NEC (9-2, 3-0 NECC) connected on 9-of-21 3-point attempts (42.9 percent) in the first half and took a 56-41 lead into the break.
The Pilgrims made some careless mistakes in the first five minutes of the second half, with back-to-back traveling violations. Elms took advantage and came out blazing with a couple fast-break layups by Andre Pequero (Boynton Beach, Fla.) and two huge 3s by Justin Feliciano (Springfield, Mass.) as Elms used a 14-0 run to cut the deficit just four,59-63. The Pilgrims responded, hitting quick shots and disrupting passing lanes to hold onto the lead for the rest of the game.
NEC's Jamal Allen (Dorchester, Mass.) was too much for Elms to handle. Allen led the Pilgrims with 37 points aided by eight deep 3s in 23 minutes off the bench. Ricky Leonard (Windsor, Conn.) had 18 points and Stephen Fama (Lynnfield, Mass.) added 12. As a team, the Pilgrims shot 41.6 percent (32-of-77) from the field. Elms won the rebounding battle overall, 40-39, but NEC had a 14-5 advantage in offensive rebounds, leading to a 19-6 lead in second-chance points.
Feliciano finished with 19 points and DJ edelen (Prince George, Va.) added 13, but picked up three quick fouls in the second half before fouling out with six minutes left in the game. Andre Peguero (Boynton Beach, Fla.) showed up not only with 10 points but also was on the boards with one offensive rebound and four defensive rebounds.
Both teams will return to action on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Elms will play at 6pm against Lesley and NEC will visit Eastern Nazarene at 7:30 p.m.