QUINCY, Mass.- Westfield State graduate student Marcus Collins (Cambridge, Mass./Rindge and Latin) scored the 1,000th point of his career and was one of four Owls to score 20 or more points as Westfield State rolled to a 104-86 Tuesday evening at the Lahue Physical Education Center in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
The Lions slip to 3-7 on the season with the outcome while the Owls improve to 7-3 overall.
Jauch Green, Jr. (Hartford, Conn./Cromwell) poured in a game-best 26 points and added six rebounds with five assists for the Owls. Collins finished with 21 points, while Vawn Lord (West Springfield, Mass./Amherst) and Malik Pouncy (Mattapan, Mass./Springfield Commonwealth) both chalked up 20 points.
For Easten Nazarene, David Lopez (Miami, Fla.) poured in a team-best 20 points and collected six rebounds off the bench. Josh Rice (Hanson, Mass.) tallied 18 points while Garrett Crandell (Bristol, Tenn.) notched 16 points, four rebounds, and four assists. Levi Grady-White (Springfield, Mass.) netted a season-high 10 points off the bench.
Westfield State pushed its advantage to 10 on a pair of free throws by Jauch Green, Jr. with 12:01 to go in the opening stanza, to lead 20-10. The Owls stretched the gap to 14 with 6:01 left to play in the first on a fast-break layup by Malik Pouncy, 36-22.
Collins entered the game needing 17 points for 1000, and reached that mark before the half, netting his 17th of the game and 1000th of his career late in the first half. Collins, who originally came to Westfield as a football quarterback, walked on to the men's basketball team as a sophomore, and returned this season as a graduate student to use his final year of basketball eligibility while pursuing graduate studies in criminal justice.
Westfield sported a 51-38 lead at the halftime intermission as Lord sank a buzzer-beating trey.
ENC cut the deficit to eight less than three minutes into the second stanza, 55-47, as a fast-break layup by Crandell capped off a 7-0 spurt.
Westfield State gradually expanded its advantage to 22 points with 9:14 left to play as Green, Jr. tossed in a fast-break lay-in, 84-62.
Eastern Nazarene battled back to pull to within 10, 94-84, on a bucket by Rice with 3:20 on the clock, but the Owls closed out the contest on a 10-2 run to lock up their fifth-straight victory.
The Lions finished with a field-goal percentage of 52.9% in the game to go with 9-of-22 shooting from behind the arc. Westfield State shot 57.6% on the night and 45.8% from long distance.
Westfield State will be back in action on Friday night with a 7:00 p.m. game against Springfield College at the Woodward Center.