By Dan Libon
BABSON PARK, MA – The Babson College Beavers men’s basketball teams postseason run ended quite quickly on Thursday during the opening round of the NEWMAC conference tournament, as the United States Coast Guard won, 62-53.
With the win, the Bears are headed to Worcester, Massachusetts on Saturday to take on WPI who is finished atop the division with an overall record of [21-4, 11-1]
The Beavers started the game with a 10-2 run and clearly relied on center Kris Noonan, who produced the first 6-points of the night. Yet, after Babson took an early lead, it eventually turned into a contest when both sides started attacking the rim and driving into the paint.
Babson utilized their size and quickness to score baskets, but the only bright side for Coast Guard during the first half was their rebounding. Coast Guard won the battle of the boards by getting several second and third chances to score, but continued to struggle at producing points.
Before the first half ended, the Bears chipped away at the lead, turning a 14-point deficit into 6-point lead for Babson at halftime.
During the opening minutes of the second half, Coast Guard starting to turn the tables on Babson and their improved played would lead to their first lead of the game, aside from a couple of various lead changes.
“In the second half I thought they turned the tables on us. I thought they controlled the tempo. They like to play a less possession game than we do” said Babson coach Stephen Brennan.
Coast Guard continued to hold the lead for the rest of the second half, despite various Babson rallies, but the Bears would hold them off and continue their superior offensive rebounding from the first half.
“We played a zone and they really stood around against it and they got 4 offensive rebounds during that zone sequence” said Brennan.
Looking desperate, Babson started looking for the 3-pointer rather than driving to the basket for an easy score, but apparently it was not meant to be, as thanks to multiple clock draining possessions, Coast Guard would eventually earn an important road victory and punch their ticket to the NEWMAC Final Four.
Coast Guard has never finished as the top team in conference play, but has won tournament twice, (2007 and 2008).