Men's Basketball

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Game Preview: No. 1 Men's Basketball vs. WPI

Game Preview: No. 1 Men's Basketball vs. WPI

No. 1 Men's Basketball vs. WPI
Wednesday, January 11—7 p.m.
Staake Gymnasium—Babson Park, Mass.


Babson and WPI will meet for the 75th time on Wednesday night in a series that dates back to the 1974-75 campaign. The Beavers 44-30 all-time against the Engineers and swept the regular season series since 2003 last winter.

Senior Joey Flannery finished with 41 points, 12 rebounds and six assists to lift the Beavers to a 91-87 double-overtime victory against WPI on February 6, 2016, in Babson Park. Junior Nick Comenale added 18 points for the Green and White, while Clyde Niba and senior Sean Doncaster scored 23 and 20 points, respectively, for the Engineers.

Domenick Mastascusa scored 15 points and senior Aaron Davis added 13 points as the Engineers defeated Babson, 67-57, on January 14, 2015, in Babson Park. Sam Longwell also scored 12 points for WPI, which shot 50 percent and built a 13-point halftime lead. Eric Dean '15 led all scorers with 18 points, while senior Sam Bohmiller added 15 for the Beavers.

WPI (9-4, 0-2 NEWMAC) has dropped its first two conference games for the first time since 2010 after falling to MIT, 75-63, on Saturday. Doncaster finished with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds, while James Loring came off the bench to score 13 points for the Engineers, who shot just 37.1 percent. Doncaster (14.3 pts, 4.5 reb, 4.0 ast) is shooting 49 percent from three-point range, senior Ian Converse is averaging 12.9 points and a team-high 6.7 rebounds, and sophomore Jamani Spencer is contributing 9.5 points and 3.0 assists. WPI ranks 32nd in Division III in scoring defense allowing just 65.2 points per game.

No. 1 Babson (12-1, 2-0 NEWMAC) has won three straight games after outlasting Springfield, 73-68, on Saturday. Flannery scored 21 of his 33 points in the second half and junior Bradley Jacks recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Beavers, who went 16-of-18 at the free throw line. Flannery (25.3 pts, 6.2 reb, 4.3 ast) is eighth in Division III in scoring, Comenale (18.4 pts, 5.2 reb, 2.3 ast) has made a league-high 44 three-point field goals and senior Isaiah Nelsen (12.9 pts, 6.6 reb) is shooting 63.6 percent from the floor, which leads the NEWMAC. The Green and White ranks third nationally in scoring margin (17.9) and 11th in field-goal percentage (50.2).

The Beavers, who are number one in the Top 25 poll for the third straight week, are the only team in the country to receive at least one first-place vote and to be ranked in the top three in all seven polls this season.

After being held to single digits in scoring in two of his first three games against WPI, Flannery has averaged 36.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists while shooting 55.7 percent from the floor in Babson's three straight wins against the Engineers going back to February 2015.

The Green and White will play its first home game since an 87-53 victory over Bates on November 30 on Wednesday night. The Beavers, who went 5-1 over their last six games away from home, are riding a 13-game home winning streak and have averaged 88.3 points on 45.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc in seven contests at Staake Gymnasium this season.

Comenale, who is ranked 15th nationally, and Flannery have combined to shoot 89.6 percent (95-of-106) at the free throw line this season for Babson, which is 24-3 over the last two years when making more foul shots than its opponents.

The Beavers are 8-0 on the year when holding their foes below 40 percent shooting.