Men's Basketball

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Game Preview: No. 1 Men's Basketball at Springfield

Game Preview: No. 1 Men's Basketball at Springfield

No. 1 Men's Basketball at Springfield
Saturday, January 7—2 p.m.
Blake Arena—Springfield, Mass.


Babson and Springfield will meet for the 59th time on Saturday afternoon in a series that dates back to the 1976-77 season. The Beavers are 20-38 all-time against the Pride, but have won five straight and six of the last seven games between the teams.

Senior Joey Flannery went 11-of-11 at the free throw line and finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds to help Babson edge the Pride, 68-64, on February 10, 2016, in Springfield. Senior Isaiah Nelsen and junior Bradley Jacks each added 12 points for the Beavers, while Josh Altman finished with 22 points for Springfield.

Sean Martin and Nick Sinkiewicz both scored 17 points, and the third-seeded Pride rallied from a nine-point deficit over the final 3:52 of regulation to edge second-seeded Babson, 85-77 in overtime, in a NEWMAC Tournament semifinal on March 1, 2014, in Worcester. John Wickey '15 scored 17 points while Flannery finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Beavers.

Springfield (7-5, 1-0 NEWMAC) has won four straight games after knocking off WPI, 71-63, in its conference opener on Wednesday night. First-year Jake Ross finished with 29 points, seven rebounds and five steals, while junior Andy McNulty scored 25 points for the Pride, which built a 19-point second-half lead. Ross (22.4 pts, 9.4 reb, 3.3 ast) ranks second in the league in scoring and rebounding, McNulty (14.7 pts, 3.0 ast) is shooting 41.4 percent from three-point range and first-year Heath Post is averaging 8.6 points and 5.7 rebounds. Springfield has limited its foes to just 39.6 percent shooting during its current winning streak.

No. 1 Babson (11-1, 1-0 NEWMAC) won its league opener for the fourth consecutive season, defeating Emerson, 100-76, on Wednesday night. Nelsen and junior Nick Comenale both scored 24 points for the Beavers, who shot 56.5 percent from the floor and outscored the Lions 40-20 in the paint. Flannery (24.6 pts, 6.1 reb, 4.3 ast) leads the NEWMAC in scoring and is second in assists, Comenale (18.5 pts, 5.5 reb, 2.4 ast) is averaging 3.6 three-pointers per game and Nelsen (13.7 pts, 6.5 reb) is shooting 66.7 percent on the year, which ranks eighth in Division III. The Green and White enters Saturday's game ranked second nationally in scoring margin (19.0) and eighth in field-goal percentage (50.6).

After dropping 11 straight games at Blake Arena from 2003-2012, the Beavers have now won four straight in the Birthplace of Basketball, all by six points or less.

Senior David Stauffer finished with season highs of 11 points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes against Emerson on Wednesday, while classmate Matthew Droney dished out five assists and grabbed two boards in 13 minutes off the bench. Stauffer is averaging 8.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over the last two games, while Droney is contributing 4.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds.

Babson, which ranks fifth in Division III in three-point field-goal percentage (43.8) shot a season-high 68.8 percent from beyond the arc and knocked down 11 three-pointers at Emerson on Wednesday. Comenale led all players with four triples and has made at least one trifecta in 29 consecutive games going back to last season. Additionally, he needs just two three-pointers to reach 100 for his career.

The Green and White is allowing just 0.91 points per possession and have limited its opponents to just 39.2 percent shooting, which ranks 32nd in Division III. Babson has also held its last two foes, Chicago and Emerson, to 27.8 percent shooting in the second half.

The Beavers have shot at least 40 percent from the field in 16 consecutive games going back to last season.