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.

Mass. College Hoops: 10 Games To Watch This Weekend

By NoontimeSports.com 

With the weather getting cooler (well, not exactly today!) and basketball season in full tilt, it’s time to dish out our 10 Games to Watch for this weekend.

Men’s Basketball:

No. 21 UMass vs. BYU: The Minutemen will look to earn their eight win of the season when they host the Cougars for a 1:30 p.m. tip. BYU enters the game having won two of their last three and three of their last four, while UMass junior Cady Lalanne is averaging a team-best 16.4 points per game and 11.4 rebounds.

Harvard at Boston University: The Crimson will attempt to earn their fifth straight victory, along with their ninth overall win when they travel across the Charles River for the second time this week to face the Terriers. Harvard’s Wesley Saunders is averaging a team-best 15.1 points per game, while BU’s Maurice Watson Jr. ranks first on the Terriers in assists per game (5.6). BU, which has won four straight, will look to earn their fifth consecutive victory, along with their seventh overall victory.

Bentley vs. St. Michael’s: After seeing their seven-game winning streak conclude on Wednesday, the Falcons will look to rebound against a 6-2 St. Mike’s squad, which enters the contest having won one of their last three contests. Keep an eye on Bentley’s Tyler McFarland, who ranks fourth in the Northeast-10 Conference in points per game (20.4). He’s also fifth in rebounds (8.9) and three-point percentage (52.6).

Springfield at Williams: After losing to Hampden-Sydney, the Pride has rebounded with back-to-back wins against Penn St.-New Kensington and Trinity (Conn.). They’ll look to earn their sixth win of the season against Williams, which hasn’t lost since their first game of the season. Daniel Wohl leads the Ephs with 17.7 points per game, while Michael Mayer ranks first in rebounds (10.3). Robbie Burke leads Springfield with 80 points and 45 boards, while Alex Garstka ranks second in points with 79.

Eastern Nazarene at Endicott: The Lions, winners of six straight, will look to earn their seventh victory of the season, as well as well as their second Commonwealth Coast Conference win when they travel to Beverley to face Endicott. The Gulls commenced their season with four straight wins before dropping their last two games to Gordon and Rivier. Eastern Nazarene’s Jaylen Owens ranks second in the conference in points per game (18.2), while Endicott’s Taylor Rioux is second in field goal percentage (65.5).

Women’s Basketball:

Harvard vs. Long Beach State @ Phoenix, Ariz.: The Crimson will take their 6-2 record on the road this weekend when they travel to the Grand Canyon to face Long Beach State in the first round of the Arizona State classic. Keep an eye on Christine Clark (19.4 points per game) and Melissa Mullins (9.1 rebounds per game).

Fordham at Holy Cross: The Crusaders will look to earn their seventh straight victory when they host a Rams squad that recently won the Lady Rebel Round-Up tournament against Cincinnati in Las Vegas. Holy Cross’ ‘hot start’ is their best start in over 30 years. Holy Cross has also scored 70 points in every contest this season, including 92 points against UMass Lowell. Alex Smith leads the unit with 98 points.

So. New Hampshire at Stonehill College: The Skyhawks, winners of two straight, as well as three of their last four, will look to earn their seventh win of the season when they host the Penmen in Easton. Stonehill is 3-1 in NE-10 play this season. On Wednesday, the Skyhawks defeated Assumption, 79-68, thanks to 21 points, five assists and five rebounds from Mary Louis Dixon, as well as 14 points and nine boards from Tori Faieta.

Wesleyan at Williams College: The Ephs haven’t lost a regular season contest since last season when Smith College topped Williams, 53-49. Since then, Williams has won 11 straight, including seven this season. They’ll look to extend their current streak to 12 when they host Wesleyan for an important New England Small College Athletic Conference matchup. Keep an eye on Kellie Macdonald, who’s averaging a team-best 14.0 points per game.

Wheaton College at Clark University: Can the Lyons make it seven in a row? Wheaton, which has been one of the biggest surprises of the season thus far, is coming off a 77-52 win over Emerson College on Wednesday. Wheaton has registered 70 points or more in five contests this season. Clark has won three of the last four meetings, including both games last season. Keep an eye on Wheaton’s Abbie Brickley and Kiley Shoemaker, as well as Clark’s senior trio, which includes Emily Reilly, Ashleigh Condon and Megan Grondin.