Suffolk University senior Matt Pepdjonovic (Quincy, Mass.) became the all-time leading rebounder in school history as he collected 18 boards and also netted 15 points in a 90-82 loss to Eastern Nazarene College on Tuesday evening.
Pepdjonovic entered the game needing 14 rebounds to tie Christos Tsiotis' program record of 1,016 career grabs. Pepdjonovic set the mark with an offensive rebound 15:40 into the second half, his 15th of the game. He now becomes Suffolk's all-time leader with 1,020 and moves into second place all-time among Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) rebounders.
With the win Eastern Nazarene College moves to a 2-1 record on the season. The Lions escaped a scare as they saw a 23-point lead with twelve and a half minutes to play evaporate with the Rams tying the game at 80-all with sixty-eight seconds remaining in regulation after Suffolk took a brief three-point lead.
Three consecutive free-throws by freshman Jaylen Owens (Johns Creek, Ga.) would break the tie and give the Lions the lead for good as they connected on 10-of-11 shots from the line in the final minute thanks to three flagrat Suffolk fouls.
Senior Chima Ezeigbo (Roanoke, Va.) led all scorers with 21 points, while seniors Mike McCoy (Altamonte Springs, Fla.) and Max Barbosa (Dorchester, Mass.) each had 15 points.
The difference in the contest was the first half as Suffolk commited 17 turnovers which relayed into 19 Lions' points as Eastern Nazarene took a 45-27 edge into the half.
Suffolk would manage to chip away and tie the game as senior Colin Halpin (Melrose, Mass.) had a monster second half as he scored 17 of his team-high 21 points.
A 16-3 Suffolk run would cut the lead down to nine points with 7:45 remaining. At the 5:15 mark Barbosa would hit a layup to put the Lions back up by double digits at 75-65. The Rams would then go on an 11-0 run over the next two minutes to take a 76-75 as senior Chris Torres (Brockton, Mass.) sunk a pair of free throws.
Halpin would then put the Rams up three points as he took a feed down low from Pepdjonovic, and Barbosa would quickly answer with a three-point shot of his own to even the game. Both, Barbosa and Halpin would trade jumpshots to make the game 80-80 with 1:08 remaining before the Lions were able to pull away.
Torres finished the game with 15 points on 5-for-7 shooting from both the field and free-throw line, while freshman Caleb Unni (Winchester, Mass.) netted 12 points for the Rams who fall to a 1-2 mark on the young season.
Eastern Nazarene will be back in action on Wednesday as they host Wheelock College at 5:00pm. Suffolk is idle until November 29 when they take on UMass-Boston at 7:00pm.
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