Flannery, Oftring Shine in Beavers' 16th Straight Win
BABSON PARK, Mass.--Senior Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) finished with 30 points and six rebounds, while first-year Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) added career highs of 15 points and five boards to help top-ranked Babson College defeat fourth-seeded Springfield Colleg, 67-62, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Saturday evening at Staake Gymnasium.
With its 16th straight win, Babson (25-1) advances to Sunday's title game for the third year in a row, while Springfield sees its season come to a close at 14-13.
Flannery went 11-of-13 at the free throw line and Oftring finished 6-of-9 from the floor, including a trio of three-pointers in the win. Senior Charlie Rice (Barnstable, Mass.) came off the bench to score 11 points for the Beavers, who played without senior Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.) and junior Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.)
First-year Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) scored 17 points and pulled down eight boards for the Pride, while junior Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) chipped in with 15 points and three assists. Classmate Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) scored 12 points and first-year Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) led all players with 15 rebounds and four blocked shots.
Springfield jumped out to a 12-4 lead less than five minutes into the contest and were up 27-21 at the 7:27 mark before the Green and White ripped off seven consecutive points to take its first lead on a transition dunk by senior Isaiah Nelsen (North Andover, Mass.). Ross scored four straight points to put the Pride back in front 34-32, but the Beavers scored the final six points of the period to take a 34-32 lead to locker room on a layup by junior Chris Lowry (Union, Conn.).
Flannery and Oftring combined for a trio of three-pointers early in the second half and Babson pushed its lead to 53-46 on the strength of a Flannery three-point play with 10:49 to play. The Beavers scored just four points over the next eight minutes though, and trailed 58-57 before Rice converted a feed from senior Matthew Droney (Canton, Mass.) with 2:43 left.
Flannery went 6-of-7 at the free throw line over the final 1:20 of regulation and the Green and White held Springfield without a field goal over the final five minutes to finish off the victory.
The Beavers shot 41.8 percent from the floor and finished with a 30-20 scoring edge in the paint. The Pride shot just 33.3 percent for the game, but held a 47-30 edge on the glass.
Babson, which is looking to become the first team to win three straight NEWMAC Tournament championships, will take on either second-seeded MIT or third-seeded WPI in Sunday's 3 p.m. title game.
- The Beavers are now 23-38 all-time against Springfield and have won eight straight and nine of their last 10 in the series.
- Babson extended the nation's longest conference winning streak to 25 games, Division III's second longest home winning streak to 21 and its Saturday winning streak to 35.
- The Beavers' 16-game winning streak is the second longest in program history behind the 2014-15 squad, which won 17 consecutive games on its way to the Final Four.
- Babson last reached three consecutive NEWMAC championship games from 2002-2004.