BABSON PARK, Mass. – Visiting Clark University shot 51.1 percent (23-45) from the field, including an 8-of-16 showing from three-point range, to defeat host Babson College, 63-48, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball showdown at Staake Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
Graduate student Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass.) led all players with 23 points for Clark (11-9, 5-3 NEWMAC), thanks to a 7-for-14 performance from the field, including a 4-for-8 mark from long range. Vayda also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds while hitting all five of his attempts from the free throw line. First-year Tyler Veretto (South Windsor, Conn.) added 11 points for the Cougars, who now hold a commanding two-and-a-half game lead over the Beavers in the race for a top-four seed in the NEWMAC Tournament.
Junior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) made five trifectas of his own to finish with 21 points for Babson (11-11, 3-6 NEWMAC), while senior Russell Braithwaite (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 10 points and seven boards. Leading scorer John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) was held to just four points for the Beavers, although he did manage to contribute team-highs of eight rebounds and six assists.
After falling behind early, Babson used a 14-2 run that featured seven points from Palazini to take a 14-6 lead with 11:36 to go in the first half. The Beavers later led 24-22 after a Palazini jumper with 3:24 remaining in the period, but Clark scored the final 10 points of the half, including three points apiece from Veretto and junior Jake Gubitose (Fiskdale, Mass.), to go up 32-24 at the intermission.
The Beavers had no answer for Vayda in the second half, as the veteran forward scored 22 of his 24 points in the final 20 minutes to power Clark to victory. He hit four of his five triples in the first nine minutes of the stanza – the last of which sparked a 10-0 run that pushed the visitors' advantage to 19 at 56-37. Vayda scored the first eight points of that decisive run as the Cougars held on for the 63-48 win.
GAME NOTES: This was the 60th meeting between these two teams, with the series dating all the way back to the 1934-35 season. The Cougars now own a 37-23 advantage all-time against the Beavers… This was the first time in 11 games this season that Babson lost when holding its opponent to 65 points or less.