LEICESTER, Mass. – Senior guard Andre French (Torrington, Conn.) scored 21 points with eight rebounds and seven steals to lead visiting Elms College to a 67-53 win over host Becker College in NECC men's basketball action Thursday night at the Leicester Gym. The Blazers of Elms run their record to 12-8 with a conference-best 10-1 mark, while the Hawks of Becker fall to 10-10 and 6-5 against NECC opponents.
Elms senior forward David McDaniel (Plainfield, N.J.) finished the night with 11 points while senior forward Jamal Hulum (Norfolk, Va.) led the visitor's rebounding effort with eight boards, with five of those coming on the offensive end. The Blazers finished with a 23-9 advantage in second-chance points, and forced 19 Hawk turnovers.
Becker sophomore guard Donovin Ford-Hayes (Windsor Locks, Conn.) made his first four shots of the game to finish with 21 points and six boards. Sophomore forward Yahmad Rountree (Waterbury, Conn.) played strong inside with 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, while junior guard Tyler Roberson (Irvington, N.J.) added nine points.
Early three-point shooting by the Hawks sparked them to an 18-8 lead with ten of those points coming from Ford-Hayes. The Blazers countered with a full court press, turning Becker turnovers into quick baskets and pulling to within two with a 12-4 run, capped off by a three from freshman guard Jerry Buchanon (Windsor, Conn.) with 9:59 left in the half. In the final minutes of the period, French caught fire, making three straight three-pointers and giving Elms its first lead of the game with 3:17 remaining. The Blazers finished the half on an 11 point run, going into halftime with a 38-32 lead. Offensive rebounding proved critical for Elms, as the pulled down ten boards resulting in 13 second-chance points. French led all scorers with 13 at the break.
In the second half, the Blazers kept up the pressure, scoring twelve of the half's first 17 points, taking a 50-37 lead off a put-back layup from Hulum. Elms continued to use their superior length to get the best of it on the boards, at one point outrebounding Becker 8-4 around the Hawks' own hoop. The Blazers led by as much as 17 on a jumper by Hulum, later matching that with a dunk of the glass from sophomore forward Kenneth Lockett (Atlanta, Ga.).
Becker will be back in action on Saturday when the teams hosts Lesley University in a 1:00 p.m. game. Elms will host Mitchell College on Saturday with tipoff coming at 2:00 p.m.