Mass. College Hoops: Babson, Tufts Capture Respective Conference Crowns

By Matt Noonan 

On Sunday afternoon, the Babson College and Tufts University women’s basketball teams each captured their respective conference crowns, while earning automatic-bids to the upcoming NCAA Division III Tournament that commences later this week.

The Beavers defeated Wheaton College in Springfield by a score of 77-51, while the Jumbos topped Bowdoin College at home by a score of 68-52.

Babson Captures Sixth NEWMAC Crown in Seven Seasons: Linnett Graber stuffed the stat sheet with seven points, nine rebounds, five assists and one steal, while Taylor Russell poured in a game-and-team-high 16 points as the Beavers overcame a regular season setback to the Lyons.

Babson led Wheaton, 42-18, at the break before tacking on 35 points during the second stanza. The Lyons rallied by netting 33 points in the second half, including nine points from Abbie Brickley and eight points from Kiley Shoemaker. Laura Pierce netted a team-high 12 points for the Blue and White, while Shoemaker pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.

The Beavers, who entered the tournament as the fourth seed, earned a trip to the finals by defeating WPI and host Springfield in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, respectively. Wheaton’s road to the championship began with a quarterfinal victory over Emerson College before they defeated U.S. Coast Guard Academy yesterday in the semifinal.

Jennifer Narlee added 10 points for the Green and White, while Erin Young connected on three of seven shots from beyond the arc.

Tufts wins Second-Straight NESCAC crown: Four Jumbos registered double-digits, including 16 points from Emma Roberson as Tufts defended its tournament crown from one year ago.

Tufts led Bowdoin, 28-22, at the break before netting 40 points in the second half to secure their 26th win of the season.

Roberson scored 11 of her 16 points during the final 20 minutes, while Michela North, Hayley Kanner and Josie Lee netted 14, 12 and 12 points, respectively. Kelsey Morehead came off the bench and poured in seven points, while Melissa Baptista – also came off the bench – added two points, one rebound and one block.

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.

Weekend Notebook/Column: Reflecting on the MIT-WPI Rivalry

By Matt Noonan 

This is my very first – and hopefully more will follow, I will do my best, I promise! – of my Weekend Notebook/Column series. My plan is to post a weekly column every Sunday that highlights an event, game or moment from the past week in the world of Massachusetts’s college sports.

So, without further ado, here is my first Weekend Notebook/Column!

And if you would like to critique it, send me a note or possibly pitch an idea for this weekly column or any future blog posts, you can contact me at NoontimeSports@gmail.com.

MIT-WPI, A Great Rivalry: Yesterday, I had the great fortune of PA Announcing MIT-WPI men’s basketball, the first of two meetings this season. Prior to the contest, WPI head coach, Chris Bartley, remarked, “This must be a big game with you announcing.” I laughed and wished him good luck.

MIT-WPI has truly become a marquee matchup or a must-see over the past few seasons. Sure, you have Amherst-Williams and Bentley-Stonehill, two great matchups, too, but there really is something special about these games.

Yesterday’s contest truly demonstrated why this is a must-see matchup. MIT was victorious, claiming a 51-46 win over WPI. The game featured five ties and one lead change. Four players – two from each side – reached double-figures, while MIT and WPI recorded 31 team rebounds, respectively.

MIT and WPI will play their second game on February 11, a game that could determine seeding for the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament. The Engineers of WPI swept the regular season meeting last year, but lost to MIT in the semifinals of the conference tournament last March, 64-46.

“We just had to come out, bring lots of energy (and) make sure we were out there in every play, in the play, both mentally and physically, so we could get it done,” MIT’s Matt Redfield said after last year’s tournament win over their rival.

Who knows, maybe we could see MIT-WPI in the NEWMAC title game later this winter, it certainly is possible!

Since the 2011, MIT or WPI has either won the league and tournament crown. The Engineers of MIT, who have won the conference tournament in three of the last four seasons, have also finished as Regular Season Champions twice since the 2011 campaign. They also shared the regular season crown in 2012 with WPI.

WPI last won the Tournament in 2013, their first tournament victory since beating MIT in the title match, 69-56, in 2006.

Said Bartley after winning the 2013 Tournament Title against Springfield College, “It’s a great feeling because it’s been a long time.”

So, mark your calendar for February 11, the rematch of yesterday’s back-and-forth affair. And I promise you, it will be another great chapter in this rivalry of Engineers.

Links from Around the Web: 

* Stonehill College’s women’s basketball team won their sixth consecutive game yesterday, beating Pace, 63-46. Jamie Panton recorded a season-high 11 points in the win.

* A late three-pointer helped Williams’ men’s basketball team edge Amherst College in Williamstown. Check out the story from the Berkshire Eagle.

* Boston University’s Victoria Bach registered a career-best three points in last night’s 5-3 win over Maine.

Wheaton College’s women’s basketball team halted Springfield’s six-game winning streak yesterday with a 64-53 win. The Lyons are now in a three-way tie for first place in the conference with Babson College and Springfield.

Mass. College Hoops: Springfield Men’s Basketball To Travel To Japan This Summer

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of the Springfield College athletic communications office, here’s this afternoon’s release about the men’s basketball team, which will travel to Japan this summer to play several games against the Japanese young Men’s National team squad: 

Springfield, Mass. – March 17, 2014 – The Springfield College men’s basketball team has been invited by the Japan Basketball Association for a six day trip this July in which the Pride will play several games against the Japanese young Men’s National team squad.

“The Springfield College men’s basketball program and the entire Springfield College community is very excited and honored for the opportunity to travel to Japan and play three friendly games,” said head coach Charlie Brock. “We look forward to playing against international competition, celebrating the Japan Basketball Association’s 100 year basketball anniversary, and promoting the sport of basketball.”

Springfield College's men's basketball team will travel to Japan this summer. (Photo Credit: Springfield College Athletics)
Springfield College’s men’s basketball team will travel to Japan this summer. (Photo Credit: Springfield College Athletics)

The Pride will arrive in Japan on July 17 and play three games in Japan from July 19-July 21 in the cities of Kyoto, Osaka, and Kobe. Springfield College was invited on this trip because of its rich history with the YMCA, as well its reputation worldwide as the Birthplace of Basketball.

Springfield will send over a squad of 12 players to compete on the international stage. Over the past two seasons, Springfield has owned a record of 39-17 and made consecutive trips to the NCAA Division III Championship for the first time since 1998.

“Springfield College is honored that the Japan Basketball Association has invited our men’s basketball team to participate in a series of friendly games this summer in preparation for Tokyo hosting the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020,” said Springfield College President, Mary-Beth Cooper. “ Our student-athletes will have the opportunity to compete against Japan’s national basketball team and will be exposed to a diverse culture. Springfield College has demonstrated strong international relations with universities in Japan for many years and the College is proud to assist with the promotion, development, and strengthening of basketball in Japan.”

The last time that the Springfield College men’s basketball program traveled overseas was in 1991 during a trip to Ireland, as it participated in the Limerick Treaty 300 International Basketball Tournament as part of the “100th Anniversary of Basketball” at Springfield College.

Mass. College Hoops: Wheaton’s Hodgdon Claims Presidents’ Award For Outstanding Service

By NoontimeSports.com 

Wheaton College women’s basketball head coach Melissa Hodgdon was honored with a Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Service from the college today, according to this afternoon’s release, which we’ve provided below:

NORTON, Mass. – Wheaton College women’s basketball head coach Melissa L. Hodgdon has been honored with a Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Service from the college.

Currently in her 11th year as the women’s basketball head coach at Wheaton, Hodgdon was honored for her leadership in the numerous community service initiatives that she and the women’s basketball team have taken on over the past few years.

The Lyons work with the Heller’s Angels Special Olympics team has also garnered special recognition from the NCAA and the Connecticut Sun of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), while local basketball organizations have made many connections to the campus through their community service efforts.

In addition, Hodgdon has been active in the Play4Kay campaign and supported numerous other local initiatives over the years. Play4Kay is a Fund which aims to raise money to further cutting-edge research conducted by the nation’s top doctors and medical experts to allow more and more cancer patients to have access to experimental drugs and clinical trials. To date, the Fund has raised over $8 million in support of women’s cancer research.

Wheaton wrapped up its 2013-14 campaign with a 20-8 record overall and program best 14-6 New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) mark. The Lyons began the season on a 12-game winning streak spanning from November 16 to January 7. Wheaton’s streak during the 2013-14 season ranks second all-time in program history and also garnered the Blue and White a No. 22 ranking in the USA TODAY Sports/Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Division III Top-25 poll, their first appearance in the poll since 1995. At the conclusion of the season, Hodgdon was awarded NEWMAC Coach of the Year laurels for the second time in her career for her efforts.

Mass. College Hoops: No. 14 WPI Falls Short To No. 13 Albertus Magnis In NCAA Tournament

By NoontimeSports.com

Courtesy of the WPI sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the Engineers’ first-round NCAA Tournament matchup against Albertus Magnus. WPI lost to Albertus Magnus, 68-66:

Purchase, NY — No. 13 ranked Albertus Magnus used a late 11-2 run to rally to defeat No. 14 ranked WPI 68-66 Friday evening in a NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament first round contest played at SUNY Purchase.

Albertus Magnus (27-2) advances to Saturday’s second round at 7pm against the winner of the host Panthers and Hartwick. WPI, who was appearing in its eighth NCAA Tournament in the last 10 years, completes its season with a 22-5 mark.

WPI went ahead 56-53 on a long 3-pointer by Matt Harrington (Shrewsbury, MA) with 5:30 left.  After the two teams traded baskets, the Falcons embarked upon game-deciding spurt when James Jennings (Bridgeport, CT) canned a trifecta of his own to level the game at 58-58.

Lightning-quick point guard Eian Davis (Brooklyn, NY) responded with a free throw and a short jumper and big man Victor Ljuljdjuraj (Yorktown Heights, NY) drained a pair of buckets sandwiched around an Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA) jumper for WPI, giving AMC a 65-60 edge with a minute left.

After the two teams combined for three empty possessions, Albertus Magnus nailed three free throws in the final 12 seconds to hold off a hard-charging Engineer team that connected on a pair of three-pointers in the same span, including one at the buzzer by Aaron Davis.

The first half began at a frantic pace, with Albertus Magnus canning 7-of-8 shots from the floor en route to a 10 point edge at 29-19 midway through the stanza.  At that point, WPI’s defense took over and spearheaded a 15-0 run highlighted by four charges taken that helped fuel a 36-34 halftime advantage.

Eian Davis dodged foul trouble, including three before halftime to register game-highs of 22 points, six assists and two steals. Darius Watson (New Britain, CT) scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, including drilling all four of his 3-pointers in a 4:32 span early in the game while the 6-8 Ljuljdjuraj posted 14 points and 11 rebounds en route to a double-double.

Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) was outstanding for WPI, tallying a team-best 19 points, to go along with seven boards, all defensive.

Zack Karalis (North Andover, MA) contributed 14 points, including four 3-pointers and tied his career-best nine rebounds.  Harrington matched his career-high with 11 points while Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) carried the mail early for the Crimson and Gray, scoring eight points before sliding over to help contain Watson in the second half.  Longwell will enter his senior season in November just 3 points short of 1,000.

Senior Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) chipped in with seven points for the Engineers, who recorded assists on 18 of 24 baskets. on the night.   The game marked the final contest for Kolb and classmates Chad LaBove (Shrewsbury, MA) and Drew Osei (Buffalo, NY).

NEWMAC Hoops Championship: MIT Postgame Comments (VIDEO)

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, Mass. – MIT earned its third NEWMAC tournament championship in four seasons as the Engineers defeated Springfield College, 67-56, at Harrington Auditorium.

With the win, the Engineers earn an automatic berth in the Division 3 NCAA Tournament. Pairings for the upcoming tournament will be announced tomorrow afternoon.

MIT’s Andrew Acker, who was named the Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, recorded a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds, while Ryan Frankel added 13 points, seven assists and four boards.

Robbie Burke paced Springfield and all scorers with 24 points, while Sean Martin added 12 points, five rebounds and five assists.

The Engineers led the Pride, 31-29, at intermission and used an early second half run to push ahead for good.

Below is two post game interviews with MIT head coach Larry Anderson and Andrew Acker. For more on today’s championship — HOP HERE