Men's Basketball

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Game Preview: No. 20 Men's Basketball at MIT

Game Preview: No. 20 Men's Basketball at MIT

No. 20 Men's Basketball at MIT
Saturday, February 20—2 p.m.
Rockwell Cage—Babson Park, Mass.

Babson and MIT will meet for the 70th time on Saturday afternoon in a series that dates back to the 1978-79 season. The Beavers hold a 49-20 edge all-time, but had their five-game winning streak in the series halted by the Engineers back in January.

First-year Bradley Jomard scored 21 points and senior Ryan Frankel added 19 and nine assists to help MIT edge Babson, 71-66, on January 20 in Babson Park. First-year Tim Roberts finished with 11 points and 10 boards for the Engineers, who led by as many as 16 early in the second half. Junior Joey Flannery scored 21 points for the Beavers, who used a late 13-1 run to get within three in the final minute.

Flannery scored a game-high 18 points and John Wickey '15 posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds as the top-seeded Beavers defeated fourth-seeded MIT, 57-47, in a NEWMAC Tournament semifinal on February 28, 2015, in Babson Park. Leading by four at halftime, Babson used a 16-0 run midway through the second half to put the game away. Matt Redfield finished with 12 points and a game-high 17 boards for the Engineers.

MIT (19-5, 10-3 NEWMAC), which is ranked eighth in the most recent NCAA regional rankings, downed Emerson 67-49 for its third straight win on Wednesday. Frankel matched his season high with 20 points and Jomard added 14 points and nine rebounds for the Engineers, who outscored the Lions 21-5 at the free throw line. Jomard (16.0 PPG, 6.6 RPG) is fifth in the league in scoring, senior Justin Pedley (15.2 PPG, 4.4 RPG) has connected on a conference-best 71 three-point field goals and Frankel (10.0 PPG, 5.2 APG) has reached double figures and three straight games and leads the NEWMAC in assists. MIT ranks second in Division III in scoring defense (58.9 points) and is holding opponents to just 38.3 percent shooting, good for fifth nationally.

No. 20 Babson (18-5, 12-1 NEWMAC) won its eighth straight game and locked up its first back-to-back league titles since 1996 with an 80-73 triumph at Coast Guard on Wednesday. Flannery led all scorers with 22 points, while sophomore Nick Comenale posted his first career double-double with 18 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for the Beavers, who opened the game with a 26-7 run. Flannery (24.5 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 2.8 APG) ranks 10th nationally in scoring, junior Isaiah Nelsen (16.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG) is shooting a NEWMAC-best 60.9 percent and sophomore Bradley Jacks is contributing 12.5 points and 5.2 boards while shooting 56.1 percent on the year. The Green and White is averaging 82.0 points, good for 53rd in Division III, and ranks 35th nationally in field goal percentage defense (40.0).

Jacks is averaging 14.7 points and shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and 85.2 percent from the free throw line, while Comenale is contributing 13.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in addition to shooting 52 percent from deep during the Beavers' eight-game winning streak.

Flannery, who opened conference play by scoring at least 20 points in nine consecutive games, has reached double figures in 35 straight contests and his 564 points this winter are good for the fifth best single-season total in school history.

Babson has won 17 straight conference road games and can become the first NEWMAC program since 2009 to finish conference play with just one loss in back-to-back seasons. WPI suffered just one loss against a 12-game league slate in three consecutive seasons from 2007-09.

The Beavers, who have been outrebounded in two straight games for the first time since the end of last season, are 14-3 this year when winning the battle on the glass.