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Tournament Preview: Men's Hoops Opens with Salem State in 11th New England Big 4 Challenge

Tournament Preview: Men's Hoops Opens with Salem State in 11th New England Big 4 Challenge

New England Big 4 Challenge
Men's Basketball at Salem State
Saturday, December 6 | 2 p.m.
Twohig Gymnasium | Salem, Mass.

WHAT TO KNOW
• The 11th edition of the New England Big 4 Challenge will be hosted by Salem State on Saturday and Sunday.
• Brandeis and Tufts meet in Saturday's first semifinal at 12 p.m., while the Beavers take on the host Vikings in the second game of the day at 2 p.m. The consolation game is set for 12 p.m. on Sunday with the championship game to follow.

SERIES HISTORY
vs. Salem State
• Babson is 7-13 all-time against the Vikings in a series that dates back to 1988.
• The Beavers are 3-4 all-time against Salem State in seven Big 4 Challenge meetings, which includes a 75-70 loss to the Vikings in the 2017 championship game.

vs. Brandeis
• Babson is 21-23 all-time against Brandeis in a series that dates back to the 1974-75 campaign.
• The Beavers and Judges have split six contests in the Big 4 Challenge after Brandeis defeated the Green and White 74-49 in last year's championship game.

vs. Tufts
• Babson is 15-27 all-time against the Jumbos in a series that dates back to the 1975-76 season.
• The Beavers are 3-4 in seven Big 4 Challenge matchups with Tufts and made a school-record 19 three-pointers in last year's 93-73 victory over the Jumbos.

SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
• Babson (7-0) remained unbeaten with an 87-82 victory over 14th-ranked Amherst on Wednesday night.
• Senior Frank Oftring scored a career-high 30 points, junior Andrew Jaworski added 23 points and classmate Crew Ainge chipped in with 16 points and six assists for the Beavers, who made 11 of their 13 three-pointers in the first half.
• Oftring (15.6 pts, 7.6 reb) has recorded two double-doubles, senior Jack Coolahan (14.9 pts, 5.1 ast) is shooting 48.8 percent from the floor, and Jaworski (14.9 pts, 6.9 reb, 3.0 ast) ranks second on the team in both rebounds and assists.
• The Green and White is holding its opponents to just 38.9 percent shooting and is committing the fewest turnovers (8.1) of any Division III team in the country.

SCOUTING THE VIKINGS
• Salem State (1-6) has now dropped five games in a row after suffering an 88-58 loss to MIT on Thursday night.
• Sophomore Chris MacDonald led three players in double figures with 18 points for the Vikings, who shot just 38.3 percent and committed 13 of its 22 turnovers in the opening half.
• Senior Sean Bryan (23.6 pts, 8.0 reb, 4.0 ast) has missed each of the last two games, classmate Hakeem Animashaun (21.3 pts, 11.9 reb) has posted five double-doubles, and MacDonald (8.9 pts, 3.3 reb) is averaging 16.0 points over his last two outings.
• Salem State is allowing 90.6 points per game and shooting just 24.8 percent from beyond the arc this season.

SCOUTING THE JUDGES
• Brandeis (5-2) enters the weekend on a three-game winning streak after defeating Lasell 84-81 in overtime on Tuesday.
• Junior Chandler Jones scored 22 points and seniors Collin Sawyer and Eric D'Aguanno added 17 points apiece for the Judges, who trailed by seven with 1:50 to go in regulation.
• Sawyer (17.4 pts, 2.4 reb) is shooting 54.3 percent from the floor, Jones (13.9 pts, 8.0 reb) has scored in double figures in four of the last six games, and D'Aguanno (12.6 pts, 4.3 reb) has gone 9-of-18 from beyond the arc over his last three outings.
• Brandeis is shooting 40.5 percent from three-point range and owns a +4.2 rebounding margin.

SCOUTING THE JUMBOS
• Tufts (5-1) suffered a 72-62 loss at No. 23 WPI on Tuesday night.
• Junior Luke Rogers scored 20 points and senior Eric Savage added 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Jumbos, who were just 4-of-21 from three-point range.
• Rogers (17.2 pts, 12.2 reb) is shooting 59.4 percent from the floor, Savage (16.3 pts, 7.8, 4.0 ast) leads the team in assists and steals, and junior Brennan Morris (15.7 pts, 5.7 reb) is connecting on 46.7 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
• Tufts is averaging 85.7 points and has made more free throws (102) than its opponents have attempted (99) through six games.

BIG 4 BY THE NUMBERS
• After going 0-8 over the first four years of the event, the Beavers are 9-3 and have advanced to every championship game over the last six seasons.
• Babson's three championships (2013, 2014, 2016) are the second most behind Brandeis, which won three of the first four Big 4 titles in addition to last year's crown.
• Brandeis in 2012 and Babson in 2014 are the only host schools to win the Big 4 Challenge over the last 10 years.

FRANK CATCHES FIRE
• Oftring made a career-high five three-pointers on the way to recording the first 30-point game of his career on Wednesday against Amherst.
• He is the first Babson player to surpass 30 points since Jaworski put up 32 in the 2017-18 season opener at Johnson & Wales.

TURNING DEFENSE INTO OFFENSE
• Babson is forcing nearly 14 turnovers per game and is averaging 20.4 points off its opponents turnovers over the first seven games.
• In Wednesday's win, the Beavers committed just five miscues while scoring 20 points off of 13 Amherst turnovers.

NUMBER TO KNOW
• The Beavers are averaging 1.22 points per possession and enters the weekend ranked sixth in Division III in adjusted offensive efficiency.

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