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Men’s Basketball Ekes One Out Over Babson, 47-44

Springfield, Mass. — February 18, 2009Pat Crean scored 14 points and pulled down 8 rebounds to lead his Springfield College men’s basketball team to a 47-44 victory in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference game tonight at Springfield’s Blake Arena. With that result, both teams now sport identical records of 12-12 overall, and 4-7 in NEWMAC play.

It was a game that was very closely contested the whole way. Babson’s largest lead was by 8 three times in the first half (the last at 19-11 with 7:45 to go), while Springfield’s largest lead was by 4 at 40-36 with just 6:34 remaining in the game. Points were hard to come by.

It all came down, however, to the last two minutes. A lay-up by Babson senior forward Pat Belniak (Sutton, Mass.) with 2:22 to go tied matters at 44-all. Those were to be the last points the Beavers would score.

Both teams had opportunities to score over the next minute. But ultimately it was a 17-foot jumper by senior guard Danny White (Melrose, N.Y.)(see photo) with his parents looking on as it was Senior Night, that put Springfield into the lead for good at 46-44. with just 1:04 remaining. Following a missed shot by Belniak with 40 seconds left, Crean, a junior forward from Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., hit one of two free throws with 20 seconds remaining. Babson still had chances after calling timeouts with 16.9 seconds and with 4.4 seconds to go. But a three-point attempt by sophomore guard Shelton Ladson (New York, N.Y.) with two seconds left was blocked by White, at 5-10, one of the shortest players on the floor. And Springfield held on for the win.

Following Crean’s point totals (14), the only other double-figure scorer for Springfield was senior center John Strawson (Torrington, Conn.) with 10. White finished with 7 points, 5 steals, 2 assists, and that 1 crucial block.

For Babson, Belniak led with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Sophomore forward/center Dana Mauro (Wethersfield, Conn.) had 10 points and 7 rebounds. Freshman forward Marcus Edwards (East Hampton, N.Y.) had 6 points and 9 rebounds.

Babson outrebounded the Pride, 44-36, in this game, which the Beavers led for probably about 75 percent of the way. Both teams shot very poorly from the field. Springfield shot just .375 for the game (18-for-48), while Babson shot a very disappointing .269 (14-of-52). SC shot just .476 from the free throw line (10-of-21). Springfield and Babson both find themselves now in a four-way tie for fourth place in the conference. Springfield, Babson, Coast Guard, and Clark are all at 4-7 with just one game remaining.

On Saturday, both of these teams are in league play. Springfield will play at Coast Guard at 1 pm, while Babson hosts league-leader WPI at 3 pm.