Dennis Rinaldi's Season-High 20 Points Not Enough to Save 'Bears

Dennis Rinaldi's Season-High 20 Points Not Enough to Save 'Bears
QUINCY, Mass.--Junior Dennis Rinaldi scored a season-high 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting on Saturday, but it wasn't enough as Western New England lost at Eastern Nazarene, 74-55, in Commonwealth Coast Conference men's basketball play at the Lahue Physical Education Center. The Golden Bears drop to 4-9 overall and 3-4 in the CCC, while the Lions improve to 9-3 on the season and 4-2 in the conference.

Chima Ezeigbo fueled Eastern Nazarene with a double-double--his fourth in 2012-13--of a season-high 26 points and 11 rebounds. Jaylen Owens and Aaron Johnson each finished with 13 points.

Rinaldi and Company were red-hot--shooting 75 percent from the field--for about 10 minutes after the opening tip, but turnovers prevented the Golden Bears from taking a significant lead. Rinaldi's 20 points were one shy of his career-high set last season, but he was the only WNE scorer in double digits on the afternoon.

Eastern Nazarene, in fact, quickly claimed a seven-point lead, 15-8, after 5 minutes and 38 seconds had elapsed.
 
The Golden Bears then went ahead a few minutes later, 19-16, after a 6-0 run on a pair of baskets by Kevin Wilkes and a jumper by James Hock on a feed from Wilkes.
 
A straight-away trey by John Cramer leveled the score at 19-19 with 9:51 left to play in the half. The teams traded points the rest of the way with neither side leading by more than four points.
 
Ezeigbo scored the final three points of the first period as he completed a 3-point play with a free throw with 48 ticks on the clock to give the Lions a 32-30 edge at halftime.
 
The Golden Bears started the second stanza on a 7-3 run to capture a 37-35 lead, as Musa Elsir (9 points, 10 rebounds) scored four points during that stretch.
 
Eastern Nazarene tied the game on an uncontested lay-up by Ezeigbo as quick passing led to the easy bucket. On the Lions’ ensuing possession, Owens put the hosts on top by two with a running floater in the lane with 14:24 left to play. Those two baskets ignited an 11-2 run as the Lions seized a 48-39 advantage and never looked back.

Western New England was outscored 42 to 25 in the second half. Eastern Nazarene benefited from 18 Golden Bears turnovers and made more field goals, 28-23--including seven more 3-pointers.