Babson’s Brennan Reflects On An Exciting National Championship Victory

Babson Men's Basketball

It was a special moment for Babson College coach Stephen Brennan and the Beavers when they captured the program’s first-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship. (PHOTO CREDIT: Keith Lucas)

By Matt Noonan (@MattNoonan11) 

It’s been a few days since Babson College captured its fist-ever NCAA Division III men’s basketball championship and coach Stephen Brennan’s phone is still buzzing with text messages, phone calls and emails.

“I think that night after the game I had about 120 text messages,” said Brennan, who guided the Beavers to an exciting 79-78 victory over Augustana (Ill.) last Saturday in Salem, Virginia.

Everyone wanted to congratulate Brennan and the team, including past and current Babson presidents, friends from Bates College and current Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens.

Learn more about the connection between Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens and the Babson College Beavers, via

Even the New England Patriots expressed their excitement, tweeting out a congratulatory tweet to both Babson and Amherst College, which captured the women’s national title game last Saturday, too.

“When the Patriots sent a congratulator tweet, I was like ‘what’s that?’” said Brennan. “You don’t really expect that.”

The Beavers were also congratulated by Massachusetts Mayor Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey.

Babson’s win provided a great deal of excitement to both Massachusetts and New England college basketball fans. They all feel touched by this particular victory, according to Brennan, including Babson’s conference foes and regional opponents.

“(This win) has touched multiple members of our community from alums to our opponents (in the northeast),” said Brennan, “so it’s certainly nice to touch so many people and share it with our friends and friends of our program.”

The win also touched a quartet of Babson alums – David MackTravis SheldonEric Dean and John Wickey – that positioned the Beavers over the past few years for a potential national title-run. And despite coming-up short two years ago in the national semifinals, Babson was able to avenge its disappointing setback with a dramatic one-point victory.

“The key for success is you have to pay the rent,” said Brennan, “and this team (especially the seniors) put in the time.”

The senior class certainly put in the time, they will depart Babson Park with 103 victories, which is the most wins in program history.

Joey Flannery, who was certainly a catalyst behind the Beavers’ run toward the program’s initial national crown, concluded his career with 2,620 points, which positions him eighth all-time in Division III history. Additionally – and as noted in the game’s release – he also scored 167 points in six NCAA Tournament games this season.

Brennan and the Beavers will continue to enjoy this special accomplishment, but know a new season will be here soon. And in order to continue their current success, the tenured coach knows his team will need to ‘pay the rent’ every day.

“Everyone will have to grow,” said Brennan. “We’ll need to continue our current work ethic and culture (moving forward, while continuing) our toughness and work ethic, too.”

Mass. College Sports: Recapping An Exciting 2014-15 Year in Div. III

By Matt Noonan 

It has been an extremely exciting 10 months of Division III College sports.

Tufts University highlighted the school year by winning a trio of championships in men’s soccer, men’s lacrosse and softball. The Jumbos’ softball team accomplished a feat that had never occurred in Division III, winning three consecutive World Series crowns (2013, 2014 and 2015). The men’s lacrosse team captured its second straight title (and third since 2010) by defeating Lynchburg, 19-11, while the men’s soccer team earned its first national championship with a 4-2 win over Wheaton College (Ill.).

Babson College also appeared in the headlines following its amazing come-from-behind win against Trinity College in the Sectional Finals. Trailing the Bantams, 41-33, entering the second stanza, the Beavers rallied by outscoring their opponent, 33-25, which extended the content into overtime. In the extra session, Joey Flannery converted three free throws, John Wickey sank a jumper, Matthew Droney scored a three-pointer and Sam Bohmiller hit a pair of free throws to clinch the victory and send Babson to its first-ever semifinal.

For the second year in a row, the Tufts women’s basketball team advanced to the semifinals. Carla Berube was presented the Pat Summitt Trophy as the 2015 United States Marine Corps/ Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) NCAA Division III Coach of the Year in April. Under Berube, the Jumbos won back-to-back New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) titles (2014 and 2015).

MIT made its initial appearance in the NCAA Tournament and won its first-ever postseason contest against Husson College. Trailing the Eagles, 20-17, Tucker Cheyne booted a 38-yard field goal at the end of regulation that evened the score at 20-20. In the extra session, the Engineers secured the victory when Peter Williams hooked up with Seve Esparrago for a 13-yard touchdown strike.

The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team came within one game of the national championship. The Jeffs earned a semifinal matchup with Wisconsin-Stevens Point following a dramatic 4-3 victory over Norwich University. Mike Rowbotham extended the Jeffs’ season with an overtime goal – his ninth of the season (at the time) – that helped Amherst edge the Cadets. Trinity would up winning the national title, defeating Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 5-2.

A 1-0 victory against Johns Hopkins University sent the Williams College women’s soccer team to the finals. The Ephs, however, fell to Lynchburg in penalty kicks following a scoreless tie after two full halves of soccer, along with a pair of overtime periods. Audrey Thomas scored the lone goal in Williams’ win over Johns Hopkins in the semifinal. Prior to their semifinal and final appearances, the Ephs claimed tournament wins over Lasell College, Ithaca College, Roger Williams University and TCNJ.

Mass. College Hoops: Babson Falls To Augustana In NCAA D3 Semifinals

By Matt Noonan 

Augustana College used a 19-1 run during the final minutes of the second half as the Vikings defeated Babson College in the 2015 NCAA Division III semifinals at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Virginia.

The Vikings will play for the title tomorrow evening against the winner of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and Virginia Wesleyan.

Babson’s Joey Flannery paced the Beavers and all scorers with a game-high 27 points, while chipping in six rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal. David Mack added eight points and pulled down three defensive boards, John Wickey registered three points, five rebounds, four assists and one block and Sam Bohmiller finished with five points and one steal.

Hunter Hill led the Vikings with 18 points, while chipping in four caroms and four assists. Nic Hoepfner stuffed the stat sheet with nine points, three rebounds, two assists and two blocks, while Griffin Pils netted 10 points.

As a team, Augustana converted 17-of-22 free throws. They also sank 23-of-54 shots and drilled five three-pointers. Babson finished 18-of-45 from the floor and was 10-for-15 from the stripe.

Babson overcame a 32-19 deficit at the break with a 22-9 run, which was sparked by back-to-back layups from Flannery and Wickey. Bradley Jacks capped the run with a jumper that evened the score at 41-41 with 9:00 remaining in the second stanza.

Both teams swapped baskets over the next few minutes before a trifecta from Hill pushed the Vikings ahead for good.

The setback snapped Babson’s 17-game winning streak, which featured back-to-back New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinal and championship victories against MIT and Springfield. The Green and White went onto earn four straight NCAA Tournament victories, including a come-from-behind win last Saturday against Trinity College in the Sectional Finals.

Babson closes its season with a 29-3 record, their best season in program history. Friday’s semifinal contest was their first-ever in program history.

Mass. College Hoops: Highlights From Babson-Trinity (VIDEO)


In case you missed the exciting comeback last night by the Babson College men’s basketball team then revisit their NCAA Division III Sectional Tournament victory against Trinity College (Conn.) in a highlight package (below!), courtesy of the Athletic Department’s YouTube Channel.

Babson rallied to force overtime last night with a Joey Flannery layup with 13 seconds remaining before the Beavers outscored the Bantams, 10-3, during the extra session, which secured the win and a trip to this upcoming weekend’s Final Four in Salem, Virginia.

The Beavers will take on Augustana (Ill.) at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 20 at the Salem Civic Center. A win for the Green and White would pit them against the winner of University of Wisconsin-Stevens Points and Virginia Wesleyan.


Following their exciting victory, Flannery, John Wickey and head coach Stephen Brennan discussed the postseason contest with the media – and the video of that interview is below.

Mass. College Hoops: Babson Rallies Past Trinity, Advances To Div. III Final Four


Courtesy of the Babson College Athletics’ Communication Office, here is Saturday evening’s release from the men’s basketball game against Trinity College.

Babson rallied to force overtime before going on a 10-3 in the extra session that capped their comeback and secured them a spot in Friday’s (Mar. 20) Division III Final Four:

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Sophomore Matthew Droney (Canton, Mass.) knocked down the go-ahead three-pointer with 54 seconds left in regulation as fourth-ranked Babson College rallied to defeat Trinity College, 76-69, in an NCAA Tournament Sectional Final on Saturday night at Staake Gymnasium.

With its 17th straight win, Babson is headed to the NCAA Division III Final Four for the first time in program history. Trinity, which was making its first sectional championship game appearance since 1999, concludes its season at 23-7.

Senior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) scored a game-high 23 points to go along with four assists to lead the Beavers. Sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) added 20 points four rebounds and two steals, while senior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) and Droney each added nine points. Dean and fellow senior David Mack (Holden, Mass.) both pulled down seven boards in the win.

Junior Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) led the Bantams with 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting and eight rebounds. Classmate Jaquann Starks (Hartford, Conn.) added 21 points and eight boards, while sophomore Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) finished with 10 points and six rebounds.

After six early lead changes, Trinity used a 9-2 run to forge a 16-10 lead on a three-pointer by Starks with 12:35 to go in the opening half. Babson responded with six consecutive points to spark a 15-5 spurt to grab a 25-21 lead on two free throws by Wickey with 6:26 to play before halftime.

The Bantams regained the lead on a hoop by Starks at 26-25, and then closed the stanza by scoring on six of their final seven possessions to take a 41-33 lead into the locker room.

Trinity took its biggest lead of the game at 45-36 on an Ogundeko hoop, and later matched it on a three-point play by senior George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) with 12:40 left in the second half. Wickey and first-year Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) combined to score the next nine points for the Beavers though, cutting their deficit to 52-50 with 9:16 to play.

The Bantams regained control, getting a pair of second-chance hoops by Ajayi, and a layup by Ogundeko to forge a 62-55 lead with 4:17 remaining. Dean scored three straight points to get the Green and White back within four, but Starks answered with a pull-up trey to give Trinity a 65-58 lead with 2:52 to go in regulation.

Babson made free throws on its next two possessions and forced three straight turnovers, pulling to within one after a steal and dunk by Flannery with 29 seconds to go. Junior Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) knocked down 1-of-2 at the line to make it 66-64, but Flannery converted a driving layup to tie the game at 66-66 with 13 seconds left. The Bantams had the final possession of regulation but were unable to get a shot up, sending the game to overtime.

The teams each made a free throw in the opening two minutes of the extra session before Wickey put the Beavers ahead 69-67 with a bucket in the paint. Following two empty possessions, Ajayi knocked down a pair of free throws to tie the game at 69-69 with 1:19 to go. Droney connected on just his fifth three-pointer of the season on Babson’s next possession, and the hosts made four straight free throws over the final 22 seconds to secure a trip to the program’s first final four.

The Green and White shot 50 percent (23-of-46) from the floor and outscored Trinity 25-16 from the free throw line. Trinity shot just 39.3 percent (24-of-61) from the field and were just 26.3 percent from beyond the arc for the game.

Babson will take on sixth-ranked Augustana (26-4) on Friday at the Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.

GAME NOTES: The victory was just the second over Trinity in program history…Babson finished the season 19-2 at home…the Beavers have won 12 straight games when shooting 50 percent or better from the floor…Babson has won 32 straight games and is 26-1 this season when outscoring its opponent at the free throw line…the Beavers are 11-1 this winter in games decided by five points or less or in overtime…the victory was also Babson’s eighth of the year when trailing at halftime…the Beavers are 23-0 this season when scoring at least 60 points.