Top-Seeded Beavers Reach NEWMAC Title Game For First Time Since 2004
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) scored a game-high 18 points and senior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as top-seeded Babson College defeated fourth-seeded MIT, 57-47, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
With its 12th consecutive victory, fifth-ranked Babson (24-2) advances to the conference championship game for the first time since 2004. MIT sees its season come to a close at 18-8.
First-year Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) and senior David Mack (Holden, Mass.) each scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds for the Beavers. Fellow senior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) added seven points and four boards in the win.
Senior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led the Engineers with 12 points, 17 rebounds and four assists. Classmate Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) scored 11 points, while fellow senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) and junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) chipped in with nine points apiece.
After trading hoops over the first seven minutes the Green and White used a quick 6-1 burst to take its biggest lead of the opening half at 19-14 on a tip-in by Flannery at the 8:42 mark. MIT responded by scoring on three of its next four possessions to cut the Beavers' lead to just 23-22 on a three-pointer by Pedley with 5:53 to play. Acker gave the Engineers their first lead in almost nine minutes with a hoop two possessions later, but Flannery answered with a trey to put the hosts back in front 26-24 with 4:32 left in the stanza.
Pedley followed a dunk by Redfield with another triple to put MIT ahead 31-30, but Wickey scored in the paint and Dean beat the first-half buzzer with a running three-pointer from just inside mid court to give Babson a 35-31 at the break.
The Beavers scored just two points over the first six and half minutes of the second half before taking control of the game with a 16-0 run. Back-to-back hoops by Flannery and Wickey made it 41-37, and a Jacks steal and layup following a timeout gave the Green and White a six-point lead. Flannery converted a pair of three-point plays and Jacks put back his own miss on the next possession to give Babson a 53-37 lead with 8:11 to play.
MIT didn't go quietly, responding with a 10-0 run to make it a two-possession game. Levene buried a three-pointer to get within 13, and Redfield had a pair of tip-ins following three points by first-year Spencer Rust (Alamo, Calif.) to get within 53-47 with 1:41 to play. Flannery drained a pair of free throws on the Beavers' next possession, and then found sophomore Charlie Rice (Barnstable, Mass.) for a layup with 1:04 left to seal the win.
The Green and White, which scored 16 second-chance points, shot 38.3 percent (23-of-60) for the game. The Beavers also outscored the Engineers 36-30 in the paint.
MIT, which shot 56.5 percent in the opening 20 minutes, was just 6-of-29 from the field after halftime and shot 36.5 percent (19-of-52) for the game.
Babson will take on either second-seeded WPI or third-seeded Springfield on Sunday at 1 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Babson has won five straight against MIT, all by double figures, over the last two seasons…Saturday's win helped the Beavers snap a five-game losing streak in the NEWMAC Tournament semifinals…MIT, which was making its seventh straight conference tournament semifinal appearance, had reached the NEWMAC title game in three of the last four years…Babson's 12-game winning streak is its fourth longest in program history…the Beavers are 17-1 this season when leading at halftime, and are now 14-2 at home this season.