Second Half Run Propels No. 1 Babson Past Wheaton In NEWMAC Play
By Brian Willwerth (@BriWillerth)
BABSON PARK, Mass. – The top-ranked team in Division III Men’s Basketball will stay there for another week.
In a battle between two of the top teams in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), Babson College defeated Wheaton College on Saturday, 76-57. The Beavers remained undefeated in conference play, while handing the Lyons their first NEWMAC loss of the season.
For the first 28 minutes, this was an entertaining, back-and-forth contest – what you would expect with two unbeaten teams in their conference. With about 12 minutes to go, the game was tied at 43. But then, Babson went on a 13-0 run to open up its biggest lead, and never looked back.
“At halftime, we made a couple of adjustments in terms of how we were going to play….where were going to switch, where we weren’t going to switch,” said Babson Coach Stephen Brennan.
“They were getting easier shots in the first half. I think they took the shots we wanted them to take in the second half. And we did a good job on the glass…we were able to block them out and get out and run, and that’s when we’re at our best.”
Nick Comenale had a double-double: 19 points and eleven rebounds. He was one of four Beavers in double-figures, along with Joey Flannery, Isaiah Nelsen and Sam Bohmiller.
This was the 29th consecutive game that Babson has had at least three players with at least ten points.
“I think everything started with our defense,” said Comenale. “When we started to get stops and got out in transition I think it kind of broke the game open.”
Coming in to this game, Wheaton was off to its best start in conference play since 2005. Ryan Fogarty led the Lyons with 17 points. Timothy Berry and Quinton Dale each had eleven. Wheaton shot a season-low 34.9% from the floor, and made just five field goals over the final 15 minutes, as the Beavers ramped up their defensive pressure and took control.
Babson’s 14-1 overall record matches the best 15-game start in school history, tying the 1968-69 team. Up next for the Beavers: another undefeated team in NEWMAC play – MIT.
“We want to win NEWMAC games. It’s a tough conference…..we’re going to get everyone’s best game,” said Brennan.
Wheaton’s next game is against Emerson on Wednesday night.