Lyndonville, VT - The Northern Vermont University-Lyndon men's basketball team returned to the court after more than a three week layoff on Thursday afternoon. Unfortunately for the Hornets, they were unable to slow down hot shooting Eastern Nazarene College and came up on the short end of a 93-73 final score. With the loss the Hornets fall to 2-10 on the season, while the Lions improve to 4-7.
When Lyndon's Zach Falkenburg (Kirkville, NY) connected on a three-pointer just over four minutes into the contest the Hornets had an early 7-3 advantage. Eastern Nazarene's Josh Rice answered with his second consecutive three, and Ricky Shearman added a free throw to tie things up. The Hornets' Kyle Cary (Selkirk, NY) scored inside off of a pass from Corey Frost (Hamden, CT) to put Lyndon back in front, but the Lions answered with a 16-2 run to take control of the contest, moving in front 23-11 with 8:29 to go in the half.
Lyndon began to chip away, and back to back field goals from Luke Fredsell (Whitesboro, NY) brought the Hornets to back within 29-26. Eastern Nazarene built the lead back up from there, however, and went to halftime holding a 43-34 advantage. Rice and Noah Cheney scored 12 points apiece in the session to pace the Lions.
Eastern Nazarene opened the second half on a 14-0 run to break the game open, taking a 57-34 lead 4:25 into the period. The Hornets were able to climb back to within 13 following a Frost three-pointer, making the score 61-48 with 12:40 to go. A 13-4 Lions run over the next three miuntes built the advantage back to 22 points, but Lyndon again fought back, narrowing the deficit to 75-61 following a Damon Denteh (Jamaica, NY) three-pointer with 7:20 to go. That was as close as the Hornets would get, as Eastern Nazarene maintained their double digit lead the rest of the way.
The Lions made 30 of 54 shots (55.6%), including a red hot 14 of 24 (58.3%) from beyond the three-point arc. Meanwhile, the Hornets converted only 21 of 58 shots (36.2%) and were 11 for 26 (42.3%) from distance. Lyndon held a 34-32 rebounding advantage and committed 22 turnovers, compared to 20 for the Lions.
Rice and Cheney led Eastern Nazarene with 28 and 17 points respectively. Jahleel Gabriel (Springfield, MA) posted a double double for the Hornets, finishing with 14 points and ten rebounds. Falkenburg also reached double figures with 12 points while Fredsell handed out a team best five assists to go along with eight points.
The Hornets will travel to Cazenovia College on Sunday afternoon for the first of a pair of games in Upstate New York. They will tip off at 4:00 pm against the host Wildcats before completing the trip with a game at SUNY Delhi on Monday afternoon.