BOSTON, Mass. – Senior guard Julian Diggs (Upper Marlboro, Md.) scored a career-high 20 points off the bench to lift the Emmanuel College men's basketball team past Rivier University, 76-39, Saturday afternoon in Great Northeast Athletic Conference action at the Andy Yosinoff Court. The win moves the Saints to 5-14 on the year and 4-8 in GNAC play while the loss drops the Raiders to 1-18 and 0-12.
For the first time this season the Saints led wire to wire, never trailing in a pivotal conference tilt the keeps them in the hunt for a playoff appearance. EC jumped out to an early 6-4 lead behind a pair of jumpers from freshman guard Emmett Riddick (Middletown, Conn.) before going on a 13-0 run capped by an old-fashion three point play by sophomore Will Jessup (Westwood, Mass.) to make it 19-4 with just under 10- minutes to play in the opening stanza.
The Raiders cut the lead to single digits with under two minutes to play in the opening stanza on a pair of free throws by senior forward Kevin Francis (Cromwell, Conn.) to make it a 29-20 score before the Saints scored the final four points of the half to account for a 33-20 halftime score.
EC senior Matt Raine (Miami, Fla.) led all scorers at the break with 11 points going 3-for-3 from the floor and 5-for-5 form the charity stripe.
A 4-0 spurt to open the second half pulled the Raiders again to within single digits at 33-24 but a layup by sophomore forward Max Butterbrodt (North Andover, Mass.) pulled Emmanuel back to a double-digit margin with 17:03 remaining. Emmanuel extended its lead to as many as 27 points in the half fueled by 17 points from Diggs en route to the 76-49 win.
The Saints forced Rivier to make 19 turnover and scored 19 points off their miscues and also dominated the points in the paint by a 42-22 margin. The hosts also owned a massive 44-7 differential in bench scoring and a 61- 36 advantage in total rebounds to help them cruise to their second consecutive GNAC victory.
Diggs finished with a career-high 20 points to go along with five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Raine ended the action with 11 points, all in the first half, and was one rebound shy of a double-double finishing with nine boards. Junior guard Colin Cordero (Bolton, Mass.) also registered 11 points to go with eight rebounds while Riddick ended in double-figures with 10 points.
Three Rivier starters ended the afternoon in double-digits as freshman Joshua L'Heureux (Dracut, Mass.) scored a team-high 15 points while rookie Keith Poitier (E. Hartford, Conn.) and senior David Lorden (Pepperell, Mass.) notched 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Emmanuel returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 1 for a road contest at Saint Joseph's College (ME) for a 7:00 PM tip. The Raiders host Suffolk the same night with the contests scheduled to begin at 7:00 PM in Nashua, N.H.