BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) led all players with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and head coach Stephen Brennan earned his 300th career victory as 15th-ranked Babson held off visiting Wheaton College, 65-63, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
With the victory, Babson moves to 13-2 overall and 3-1 in the conference, while Wheaton drops to 3-10 overall and 0-4 in the NEWMAC.
Sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and a game-high four assists for the Beavers. Senior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) contributed 13 points, four boards, two steals and two blocks, while sophomore Charlie Rice (Barnstable, Mass.) scored six of his seven points during a key second-half run.
Junior Billy Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn.) led the Lyons with 18 points, six rebounds and three assists. Sophomore Zach Parsons (Belchertown, Mass.) and first-year Ryan Fogarty (Walpole, Mass.) each scored 10 points, while sophomore Timothy Berry (Sterling, Mass.) added seven points and six rebounds.
The teams traded hoops over the opening 10 minutes before Wheaton took its first lead of the game on a jumper by senior Mike O'Laughlin (Milford, N.H.) with 9:40 to play. Battaglia made a layup on the next trip and Fogarty drained a pair of free throws two possessions later to take its biggest lead of the half at 20-16 with 7:28 to go in the period. Flannery answered with four straight from the line for the Green and White to tie the game, but back-to-back hoops by Battaglia and Parsons put the Lyons back in front 24-20 with 4:35 left in the stanza.
The lead changed hands four times over the final two and a half minutes, with Wheaton taking a 30-28 edge into the locker after a Battaglia elbow jumper with 18 seconds left. The Lyons shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the opening 20 minutes while holding the Beavers to just 28.6 percent (8-of-28) from the floor. Babson stayed in the game with a 9-of-12 effort from the free throw line.
The Green and White trailed by as many as five early in the second half before ripping off a 17-5 run to take the lead. Rice had six points during the spurt and Dean added five of his own, capping the run with two free throws to make it 49-42 with 8:13 to play. The Green and white led 52-45 with 6:06 left in the game before Wheaton scored seven straight points, including five from Battaglia, to tie the game with 3:53 remaining in regulation.
The lead changed hands four times over the next 90 seconds before the Beavers went in front for good at 57-56 on a layup by Wickey. Flannery added a hoop on the next trip to make it a three-point game, and Dean followed two Fogarty free throws with a three-pointer from the top of the key to keep Babson in front 62-58 with 57 seconds left.
The Green and White went 1-of-2 at the line on each of its next two possessions, and the Lyons got a layup from Fogarty and a three-pointer from senior Mike Cannon (New York, N.Y.) to get within 64-63 with 18 seconds left. Flannery made 1-of-2 at the line and Battaglia's baseline runner on the final possession bounced off the front rim, securing the Babson victory.
The Beavers shot a season-low 30.4 percent (17-of-56) from the floor but shot 76.5 percent at the free line, outscoring Wheaton 26-7 from the charity stripe. The Green and White also finished with a slim 36-34 edge on the glass and turned 14 offensive rebounds into 14 second-chance points.
The Lyons shot 46.4 percent (26-of-56) on the afternoon and held a 28-18 edge in paint scoring.
Babson returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to MIT for an 8 p.m. start, while Wheaton will host Fisher College on Monday at 2 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Beavers are now 29-11 all-time against Wheaton and have won 10 straight against the Lyons going back to 2011…Babson is now 8-2 at home this season and has won 16 of its last 20 games in Staake Gymnasium going back to the start of last season…the Beavers are 6-1 in games decided by five points or less this season and have won nine of their last 10 games decided by five points or less since the start of last year…Babson is 12-1 this season when outrebounding its opponent.