SELINSGROVE, Pa.—Junior Isaiah Nelsen (North Andover, Mass.) finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds, and first-year Tyler Colon (Palos Verdes Peninsula, Calif.) scored five of his 12 points in the final 2:23 as 16th-ranked Babson College edged 19th-ranked Susquehanna University, 70-67, in a Division III NCAA Tournament Second Round game on Saturday night at Orlando W. Houts Gymnasium.
With its 13th straight victory, Babson (23-5) advances to the sectional semifinals for the second year in a row and the third time in program history. Susquehanna, which collected its first NCAA Tournament win since 1986 in Friday's first round, ends its season at 24-5.
Nelsen finished 10-of-14 from the floor and scored 13 of his points in the second half. Colon, who was making his first career start in place of injured junior Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.), grabbed a career-high six board and dished out two assists. Sophomore Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) scored 11 points to go along with five dimes, while classmate Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) contributed eight points and five rebounds.
Senior Josh Miller (Strasburg, Pa.) led four Crusaders in double figures with 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Junior Steven Weidlich (Watchung Hills, N.J.) added 15 and classmate Dan Weiss (Montville, N.J.) contributed 14 and six boards in the loss.
The Green and White jumped out to a quick 10-6 lead less than four minutes into the contest, only to see Susquehanna rip off an 11-3 run to move in front 17-13 on a jumper by senior Brandon Hedley (Silver Spring, Md.). Babson followed with an 11-2 run of its own to go back in front 24-19, and then got consecutive buckets from sophomore Chris Lowry (Union, Conn.), Comenale, Colon and Rice to extend the advantage to 32-23 1:30 before the break. Hedley drained back-to-back triples to pull the Crusaders within three, but Nelsen beat the halftime buzzer with a three-ball from the top of the key to carry a 35-29 lead into the locker room.
Susquehanna pulled within one on a triple by Miller just over a minute into the second half, but Babson scored on its next six possessions to grab its biggest lead of the game at 47-36 with 15:55 to play. The Crusaders regrouped and scored 11 straight points, including back-to-back three-pointers from Weidlich to tie the game less than two minutes later. Three points from Nelsen and a triple from junior Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.) put the Beavers back up 53-47 at the 10:49 mark.
Susquehanna again rallied, getting its next 12 points from Miller and Weidlich to pull even at 59 with 3:45 remaining. Junior Jason Dietrich (Maytown, Pa.) followed a hoop by Nelsen to give the Crusaders a 62-61 edge at the 2:46 mark, but Colon answered with a three-point play on the ensuing possession, and another bucket on the next trip to give the Green and White a 66-63 lead with 1:57 left.
Weidlich made it a one-point game with a pair of free throws at the 1:41 mark. Both teams got stops on their next possessions before Nelsen converted the putback of a Bohmiller miss to push the Beavers' lead to 68-65 with 12 seconds remaining. Following two free throws by both teams, Weidlich's potential game-tying three-pointer from the left wing glanced off the iron.
The Green and White shot 46.2 percent (30-of-65), outscored the hosts 32-18 in the paint and finished with a 38-28 edge on the glass.
Susquehanna shot 44 percent (22-of-50) overall and knocked down 10 three-point field goals, but were held 13 points below their season average.
Babson will now face Amherst in a rematch of December's double-overtime thriller on Friday at a site and time to be determined on Sunday.
• The Beavers have now ousted a Landmark Conference opponent in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two years.
• Babson has won nine straight games away from home and is 22-4 in road and neutral court games over the last two years.
• The Beavers are 16-5 over the last two years in games decided by five points or less.
• The Green and White is now 3-1 in NCAA Tournament Second Round games.