Springfield, Mass. - January 7, 2017 - Battling the top-ranked team in the nation in Blake Arena for the second time in the last three weeks, the Springfield College men's basketball team was edged by Babson College, 73-68, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash on Saturday afternoon.
Babson, who is the No. 1 team in the latest D3hoops.com national poll, improved to 12-1, 2-0 in NEWMAC play. Springfield, which had defeated then-No. 1 Amherst on December 14, had its four-game winning streak snapped to drop to 7-6, 1-1.
Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) led all scorers with 35 points in the victory, while Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) registered a double double with 10 points and 10 boards. Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) chipped in 17 points for the Beavers, who shot 41.5% (27-for-65) for the game, but just 3-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) recorded his eighth double double of the season and netted a career-best 30 points to go along with 11 boards and three assists. Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.) posted career highs in both points and rebounds with 15 and 11, while Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) added a double double of his own with 13 points and a career-best 14 caroms. Springfield finished the game shooting 35.5% (27-for-76) from the floor, despite a 17-for-38 (44.7%) second-half performance.
Durkin finished in the lane off a great look from Ross to put the hosts ahead 8-4 just over five minutes into the contest before back-to-back jumpers from Post forced the Beavers into a timeout trailing 14-12 with 9:32 to play. The Beavers took their first lead of the game on a David Stauffer (York, Pa.) inside bucket at 7:59, only to have Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) drill a triple at 4:45 to put the hosts on top 19-16.
The Beavers responded with a 12-1 surge that featured 10 points from Flannery, as his dunk in transition with 29 seconds left put the visitors on top, 28-21. McNulty would later knock down a deep trifecta in the final seconds to make it a 28-24 contest heading into the locker room. Babson was plus-10 on the glass in the opening 20 minutes and held the the Pride to just 10-of-38 from the field (26.3%).
Ross got free for a triple to knot the game at 34-all and Post flushed home a dunk to put Springfield on top, 36-34, just under four minutes into the second half. However, Babson put together an 8-0 surge in just 1:20 to earn a 45-38 cushion as the Pride burned a timeout following a Comenale layup at 13:09.
Babson would extend its lead to 48-38 thanks to a a corner triple from Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.). Springfield used a steal and finish from Ross made it a 48-42 contest, but a runner in the lane from Flannery provided Babson with a 10-point advantage with 7:43 on the clock. A three-point play from Post brought the Pride within seven, only to have consecutive buckets in the paint from Flannery allow Babson's lead to balloon to 11 with 6:25 remaining.
Springfield did not go away quietly as Ross seized control of things with 10-straight points in just under three minutes to bring the Pride within 60-59 with under four to play. Babson responded with timely consecutive triples from Flannery and Comenale to open a seven-point lead at the 1:56 mark, and the Pride would get no closer than three as the Beavers escaped with the conference win.
The Pride will hit the road next Wednesday when it travels to face Wheaton College for a 7 pm contest.