Men's Basketball

2017 NCAA National Champions | 9 NCAA Tournaments | 11 Conference Championships

Game Preview: No. 2 Men's Basketball at No. 1 Amherst

Game Preview: No. 2 Men's Basketball at No. 1 Amherst

No. 2 Men's Basketball at No. 1 Amherst
Thursday, December 8—7 p.m.
LeFrak Gymnasium—Amherst, Mass.

Babson and Amherst will meet for the 37th time on Thursday night in a series that dates back to 1977. The Beavers are 13-23 all-time against Amherst and dropped both matchups last season.

Junior Jayde Dawson paced five players in double figures with 19 points as then-15th-ranked Amherst defeated then-No. 16 Babson, 88-76, in an NCAA Tournament Sectional Semifinal on March 11, 2016, in Medford, Mass. Johnny McCarthy added 15 points and nine rebounds for Amherst, which shot 61.5 percent in the second half. Junior Bradley Jacks led four Beavers in double figures with 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting.

Eric Dean '15 finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds as the Beavers defeated then-second-ranked Amherst, 68-49, on December 11, 2014, in Amherst. John Wickey '15 added 17 points and nine boards, while senior Sam Bohmiller chipped in with 12 points for Babson. Senior David George posted a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds to lead Amherst.

No. 1 Amherst (6-0) extended its home winning streak to 23 games with a 76-58 victory over Brandeis on Tuesday night. Dawson scored a game-high 20 points and McCarthy added 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with nine rebounds and four assists for the Purple and White, which knocked down 11 three-pointers. McCarthy is averaging team highs of 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds, Dawson is contributing 13.3 points and 3.5 assists, and junior Michael Riopel (11.2 pts, 5.2 reb) is coming off the bench to shoot 60.5 percent from the floor. Amherst ranks second in Division III in field-goal percentage defense (33.6 percent) and is sixth nationally in scoring defense (58.7 points).
No. 2 Babson (9-0) captured its third Big 4 Challenge championship with a 91-78 win over then-third-ranked Tufts on Saturday. Senior Joey Flannery poured in a season-high 42 points and classmate Isaiah Nelsen recorded a double-double with 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Beavers, who finished with a 49-39 edge on the glass. Flannery is averaging 24.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists, junior Nick Comenale (18.9 pts, 5.4 reb) is shooting 53.8 percent from beyond the arc and Nelsen (12.8 pts, 6.7 reb) has pulled down 10 or more rebounds in three of the last four games. The Green and White ranks ninth in Division III in field goal percentage (51.9 percent) while limiting its opponents to just 38.1 percent shooting.

Nelsen became the third different player in as many weeks to earn conference player of the week honors on Monday after scoring 19.0 points on 61.5 percent shooting to go along with 9.5 rebounds in victories over Bates, Salem State and Tufts.

Flannery, who knocked down a career-high seven three-pointers in Saturday's 42-point performance against Tufts, has now gone over the 40-point mark three times in his career. He finished with 41 points, 12 rebounds and six assists in a 2OT win over WPI last February, and poured in a career-high 43 points to help the Beavers defeat Emerson in overtime, 77-71, back on February 1, 2014.

The visiting team has won five consecutive matchups since 2012, which includes victories by the Green and White at LeFrak Gymnasium in both 2012 and 2014.

Babson has had at least three players reach double figures in scoring in 23 consecutive games and has gone 22-1 during that stretch with the only loss coming to Amherst in last year's NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 matchup.

The Beavers have won eight straight road games and are 14-4 going back to the start of last season in games away from home.