Mass. College Hoops: Babson Wins NEWMAC Title, Tops Springfield, 72-62

By NoontimeSports.com 

The Babson College men’s basketball team captured their first New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title this afternoon, defeating Springfield College in Babson Park by a score of 72-62. Sophomore Joey Flannery led the Beavers, pouring in a game-high 30 points, while being named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.

Courtesy of the Babson College Athletics Communication Office, here is the release from this afternoon’s championship:

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) poured in a game-high 30 points on his way to earning Tournament Most Outstanding Player Honors as top-seeded Babson College defeated third-seeded Springfield College, 72-62, in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men’s basketball championship game on Sunday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.

With its 13th straight victory, fifth-ranked Babson (25-2) claimed its first conference title since 2004 and earned the NEWMAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Springfield (19-8), which was making its fourth consecutive league tournament championship game appearance, now must wait to see if earns one of 19 at-large bids to the national tournament when the selections are announced at 12:30 p.m. on Monday.

Flannery as 9-of-17 from the floor and 10-of-14 at the free throw line to go along with six rebounds for the Beavers. Seniors Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) and John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) each scored 17 points and combined for 12 rebounds, while sophomore Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.) chipped in with seven points, six boards and three assists in the win.

Senior Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) finished with 15 points, four assists, two rebounds and two steals for the Pride. Graduate student Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) scored 10 points to go along with four boards and two assists, while junior Josh Downes (East Sandwich, Mass.) and first-year Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) each added nine points.

Babson made its first five shots as Flannery scored five quick points and Wickey followed with six straight to build an 11-2 lead just 2:31 into the contest.  Springfield countered with a 9-4 run, getting four points from Swenson and a three-pointer from Eckles to pull within 15-11 at the 14:20 mark, but a three-pointer by Flannery and back-to-back hoops by Wickey and Dean gave Babson a 22-13 edge with 11:39 to go in the period.

Another trey by Eckles and consecutive buckets from junior Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) and Martin capped a 7-0 run that pulled the Pride back within a hoop at 22-20. Flannery and Dean combined for the next eight Babson points as it pushed the lead back to six, but Springfield got three points apiece from Eckles and Downes over the final two and half minutes of the stanza to cut the Beavers’ edge to just 35-32 at the break.

Flannery, who scored 12 of Babson’s first 15 points to open the second half, converted a three-point play to give the hosts a 50-39 lead with 13:20 to go in the contest. Mack knocked down 1-of-2 at the line on the Beavers’ next trip to make it a 12-point game, but the Pride answered with an 8-0 run to pull within 51-47 on a transition layup by junior Garstka with 9:46 remaining.

Wickey pushed the lead back to six with a jumper in the lane, and then fed Dean for a corner triple to push the Green and White’s advantage back to 56-47. Downes countered with five straight points, including a three-point play, to again cut Springfield’s deficit to just four at 56-52 with 5:39 left in the game.

It was as close as the Pride would get though, as Bohmiller connected on a three-pointer and scored all seven of his points as part of a 14-3 run that gave Babson its biggest of the afternoon at 70-55 with 58 seconds to go.

The Green and White shot 47.1 percent (24-of-51) from the field and were 6-of-13 from beyond the arc. The Beavers also held a 34-24 edge on the glass.

Springfield shot 44.4 percent (24-of-54) from the floor, but were just 4-of-16 from deep. The Pride scored 14 points off turnovers and outscored the hosts 32-30 in the paint.

GAME NOTES: Babson won all three meetings against Springfield this season, including a pair of double-digit victories at home…the Green and White has now won three NEWMAC titles with the other two coming in 2002 and 2004…the Beavers’ 13-game winning streak is tied with the 2002-03 team for the third longest in program history…Babson, which outscored the Pride 18-10 at the charity stripe, has won 28 straight games when making more free throws than its opponent…the Beavers are 15-2 at Staake Gymnasium this season, and are 21-0 when scoring 60 points or more…Babson is 22-1 on the year when out-rebounding its opponents.

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