NEWTON, Mass. – The Norwich University men's basketball team held leads at halftime and with two minutes left in regulation but could not hold on for the victory as Lesley University picked up a 61-60 victory on Monday. The Cadets dip to 4-6 on the year following the neutral-site contest while Lesley improves to 7-3 on the season.
Junior Ryan Booth (Northfield, Vt.) led Norwich with 14 points while joining four teammates with six rebounds. Junior Ryan Fitzgerald (Winchester, Mass.) and junior Darius Bryant (Calhoun Falls, S.C.) both scored 12 points – junior Tommy Fitzgerald (Williston, Vt.) finished with six assists.
Norwich led by seven points through the game's first 3:53 after Booth scored five-straight points to help his team's cause. Down by a 9-2 lead, Lesley rattled off eight-straight points to retake the lead before junior Joe Bertrand (Saugus, Mass.) poured home a three-point basket to recreate the Cadets advantage.
Bertrand has recorded at least one three-pointer in 10 of his last 11 games dating back to last season. His only game without a triple during that stretch came on Dec. 13 where he went 0-for-1 from distance in only six minutes of action.
Lesley and Norwich traded leads down the stretch, but a big triple from sophomore Daniel Haimes (San Juan Capistrano, Calif.) put the Cadets up by a 29-25 margin with 1:20 to go in the first half. Joey Martin swung the momentum partially in Lesley's favor, however, with a trey as time expired to cut the halftime lead for Norwich to 29-28.
Haimes connected from distance to begin the second half, creating a four-point lead. Tommy Fitzgerald followed with another layup to propel Norwich into a 34-28 lead with only 1:05 off the second half scoreboard.
Will Gibson gave Lesley its first lead of the second half with 10:51 to go in regulation time,as his shot from distance capped off a seven-point run for the Lynx. Both teams would not create a lead larger than four, but Norwich would possess the largest lead late following a Bryant layup with 2:58 to go.
Ahead by four points, 58-54, the Cadets allowed four-straight Lynx points before junior Zygimantas Sirvydas (Silale, Lithuania) found the bottom of the basket with a layup with 94 seconds remaining on the scoreboard. Down by two, Gibson would answer for the Lynx on his team's next possession, countering with a three-point basket to win the game, 61-60.
Following Gibson's go-ahead trey, Norwich missed a layup, a jumper and a three-point basket while Lesley stepped up with an offensive rebound and a blocked shot on the final attempt of the game by the Cadets.
Marquise Johnson and Devon Mayo scored 12 points apiece for Lesley, who shot slightly better than Norwich by connecting at a 38.7% clip (24-for-62). Norwich held the edge in rebounding (39-to-37) but committed 15 turnovers while Lesley limited its miscues to only 12.
Norwich will open the home portion of its 2017 schedule with a Great Northeast Athletic Conference tilt against Albertus Magnus College at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5 in Andrews Hall.