BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) finished with 27 points and 11 rebounds to lead top-seeded and 20th-ranked Babson College to a 74-69 victory over fifth-seeded Emerson College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament semifinal on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
With its 10th straight win, Babson is now 20-5 overall and advances to the conference title game for the second year in a row. Emerson sees its season come to an end at 11-16.
Junior Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.) scored 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while sophomore Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Beavers. Classmate Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) chipped in with 10 points, six boards and four assists in the victory.
Senior Michael Thorpe (Newton, Mass.) finished 18 points and eight assists, while classmate Austin Pinckney (Miami, Fla.) recorded a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions. Fellow senior Tyson Hallowell (Lincoln, Mass.) concluded his career with 14 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Green and White made four of its first five shots to race out to a 12-5 lead just 2:32 into the contest. Thorpe and Pinckney knocked down back-to-back three-pointers, and first-year Mac Sashin (Martha's Vineyard, Mass.) and Hallowell followed with consecutive hoops to close a 10-0 run that gave Emerson a 15-12 lead at the 13:04 mark.
The later part of the first half featured five ties and eight lead changes, and was deadlocked at 28 going into the locker room after a layup by Lions' first-year Geoffrey Gray (Newton, Mass.). Emerson opened the second half with a 7-2 run and led 35-30 after a layup by Hallowell before the Beavers responded with a 21-6 burst to seize control of the game. Bohmiller scored five straight points to give Babson the lead, and junior Isaiah Nelsen (North Andover, Mass.) and Flannery followed with back-to-back dunks to make it 44-39 with 12:45 left in the contest.
Comenale made it an eight-point game with one of his three triples and Nelsen scored again inside to give the Green and White its biggest lead of the afternoon at 51-41 with 10:25 remaining. Emerson pulled as close as four on four occasions over the final eight minutes, and trailed 66-61 after a three-point play by Pinckney with 1:25 left only see to Bohmiller drill a three-pointer from the left corner to push the Babson lead back to eight with 59 seconds to go.
Despite shooting a season-low 38.8 percent (19-of-49) from the floor, the Beavers went 29-of-33 at the free throw line, including a 20-of-23 effort in the second half.
Emerson shot just 37.7 percent (25-of-67) from the floor, but finished with a 38-34 edge on the glass and a 17-5 advantage in second-chance points. The Lions also outscored the Green and White 28-13 in the paint.
Babson will face either second-seeded WPI or third-seeded MIT in the championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m.
• The Beavers are now 20-2 all-time against Emerson and have won eight in a row in the series going back to 2011.
• Babson has won eight consecutive postseason home games.
• The Beavers have won 24 straight Saturday games dating back to the end of the 2014 campaign.
• Flannery passed Chris Johnson '78 for second on the program's all-time scoring list with 1,820 career points.
• Babson is 17-0 this season when shooting 70 percent from the free throw line and 15-2 when outscoring its opponents from the charity stripe.