BROOKLINE, Mass. - With Newbury holding momentum, it was a Pilgrims critical 13-5 scoring run in the course of 2:10 that helped pulled New England College to a 90-87, come from behind, victory over the Newbury Nighthawks on Saturday afternoon in New England Collegiate Conference play.
Pilgrims freshman Jamal Allen (Dorchester, Mass.) scored a team-high 22 points in 20 minutes off the bench. Senior Ricky Leonard (Windsor, Conn.) added 20 points while senior Jason Jones (Roxbury, Mass.) finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds.
Nighthawks senior Omar Williams (Queens, N.Y.) scored a game-high 27 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Senior Pierce Weatherspoon (Hartford, Conn.) finished with 22 points, including 5-for-10 from beyond the arc. Senior Tank Roberson (Pittsfield, Mass.) had 16 points while sophomore Tim Deng (Portland, Maine) added 10 points, eight rebounds, and five blocks.
The Pilgrims led by six after the opening half, ending the first on a 14-8 run to lead 50-44. Coming out of the locker room, the Nighthawks took their first lead of the game with the help of a 9-2 run to start the half and lead 53-52.
The game's momentum bounced back-and-forth with much of the second half being played within one possession. However, the Nighthawks looked to seize their opportunities, going on an 8-2 run that gave them their biggest lead, 72-67.
Still leading by five with 6:42 remaining, it's Leonard who started the domino effect that helped New England back into the game.
Leonard scored four straight points to cut the deficit to three and came up with a big steal and assist to Izaiah Winston-Brooks (Roxbury, Mass.) that would tie the game. Leonard, this time with the help of Jones, combined to score eight straight Pilgrims points, capped by a Jones dunk, to give NEC an 86-81 lead with 2:33 remaining.
New England struggled with their foul shots late, giving the Nighthawks one final chance with 1.5 seconds remaining. Williams caught the inbounds pass around mid-court, squared up for a shot from 35 feet as the buzzer rang, but his attempt hit front iron, giving the Pilgrims the 90-87 win.
The win moves New England to 17-3 (10-1 NECC) and is their sixth straight victory. The loss drops Newbury to 6-11 (3-7 NECC). It's the fourth loss this season that Newbury has in a one possession game.
The Nighthawks are back in action on Wednesday as they travel to Southern Vermont for a 6:00 p.m. tip. The Pilgrims carry on their season with a Wednesday night tip against Eastern Nazarene at 6:00 p.m.