D3 Hoops Roundup: Salem State Captures First New England Big 4 Challenge

NS BBALL Roundup

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11)

Shaquan Murray recorded a game-high 26 points, Drew Healy added a double-double of 14 points and 17 rebounds as the Salem State University men’s basketball team defeated Babson College, 75-70, on Sunday afternoon in the New England Big 4 Challenge Championship at Tufts University.

The win – the Vikings’ sixth of the season – was the program’s first-event tournament championship.Babson and Brandeis have captured the tournament crown three times, respectively, while host Tufts has won the championship twice.

The New England Big 4 Challenge officially began in 2009 with Brandies defeating Tufts in the initial title game, 54-41.

Babson and Salem State entered the break tied at 43-43, but a jumper early in the second session by Alex Santos helped the Vikings establish a small lead – 55-49, to be exact – which would eventually balloon into a 63-53 advantage with 8:59 remaining.

The Beavers would trim the deficit with a triple from Julian Alexis, which brought the Green and White within eight points (64-56), but the Vikings would respond with back-to-back trifecta’s from Murray and Rayshaw Matthews, which provided Salem State with a 70-56 lead with 5:38 remaining.

Babson would close the gap, pulling within two points (72-70), thanks to a late lay-up by Andrew Jaworski before the Vikings countered with three more points, including a pair of free throws by Sean Bryan to secure the win.

Matthew was tabbed the tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP), while Healy was named to the All-Tournament Team. Nick Comenale and Bradley Jacks represented Babson on the All-Tournament Team, while Vincent Pace (Tufts) and Semih Say (Brandeis) secured the final two spots.

Pace sank the game-winning three-pointer in the consolation game against Brandeis (1-5), which provided the host Jumbos (4-3) with an exciting fourth victory of the season (Tufts defeated Brandeis, 76-74). Pace concluded the contest with a game-high 21 points, while Smith tallied 16 points on five of eight attempts from the field.

The Wheaton College men’s basketball team improved to 6-2 overall with an 80-63 win this afternoon over Lesley University. Liam Bruno netted 27 points in the wine, while Ryan Fogarty registered 18 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Chris Cardoso netted 15 points, including a pair of freebies late in the second session, as Worcester State claimed its first win of the season against Norwich University. Worcester State’s Will Watkins Jr. led all scorers with 37 points, while Shaun McCarthy recorded a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Jesse Davis paced the Cadets with 20 points off the bench.

The Coast Guard Academy men’s basketball team improved to 4-1 overall this afternoon as the Bears defeated Connecticut College, 84-69. Coast Guard’s Packy Witkowski led all scorers with 27 points, while Justin Kane concluded the contest with 20 points and 14 rebounds. David Labossiere led the Camels with 26 points.

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