Emmanuel (7-17, 6-11 GNAC) trailed by as many as 11 points late in the game with a chance to tie the score at 81 with under five seconds remaining but a deep three fell short and the Cadets walked away with the come-from-behind win.
EC opened the action with a 7-0 run as freshman guard Emmett Riddick (Middletown, Conn.) scored all seven points to start the game. Norwich junior Darius Bryant (Calhoun Falls, S.C.) got the Cadets on the board at the 16:30 marker to make it a 7-2 contest.
The Saints extended the lead to 24-15 following a three by sophomore swingman Will Jessup (Westwood, Mass.) but Norwich responded with a 10-1 run to even the score at 25-all. The squads played even the rest of the half until Norwich junior guard Zygimantas Sirvydas (Silale, Lithuania) hit a runner at the buzzer to give the Cadets their first lead of the game at 41-39 heading into the intermission.
Norwich controlled the first half action in the paint, outscoring EC 20-8 in close range while the NU bench outscored the Saints reserved 16-8 in the opening stanza.
Riddick gave the Saints an early second half lead with an old-fashion three point play to pull EC ahead 42-41 with 18:22 left in the half before Norwich answered with a 5-0 spurt to regain a 46-42 advantage.
The Cadets took a ten point lead at 58-48 following a trey from junior guard Ryan Fitzgerald (Winchester, Mass.) from the top of the key that just beat the shot clock midway through the half.
Back-to-back threes from Jessup and senior Matt Raine (Miami, Fla.) cut the Emmanuel deficit to 64-60 with just over eight minutes left in regulation but Sirvydas answered at the 4:38 marker to increase the NU lead to nine at 71-62 with his second three of the night. Sirvydas put the game out of reach on the next possession with a layup in traffic to make it an 11 point game (73-62) with less than four minutes to play. The deficit was too big for the Saints to overcome as Norwich held on for the 83-78 win.
R. Fitzgerald led the Cadets with a team-high 17 points while Sirvydas finished the night with 15 points. Junior center Mike Hogervorst (South Holland, Netherlands) played well in the post with 14 points and eight rebounds and junior guard Ryan Booth (Northfield, Vt.) chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
Riddick ended with a game-high 21 points while Raine posted a double-double of 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Jessup added 15 points while senior Aidan Hadley (Owls Head, Maine) registered 11 points in defeat.
Both teams return to action on Saturday in the regular-season finale as the Saints head to Johnson & Wales University while the Cadets travel to Norwich. Both games are scheduled to tip at 3:00 PM.