Men's Basketball

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

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

No. 1 Men's Basketball vs. Wheaton
Saturday, January 14—2 p.m.
Staake Gymnasium—Babson Park, Mass.

Babson and Wheaton will meet for the 44th time on Saturday afternoon in a series that dates back to the 1989-90 season. The Beavers are 32-11 all-time against the Lyons and have won 14 straight matchups between the teams since 2011.

Senior Joey Flannery paced five players in double figures with 22 points and the Beavers shot 52.5 percent on its way to defeating Wheaton, 85-75, on February 3, 2016, in Babson Park. Classmate Isaiah Nelsen recorded a double-double with 17 point and 10 rebounds for Babson, while Billy Battaglia scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Lyons.

Anthony Coppola and Jaxon Leo each scored 12 points and the Lyons rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to defeat Babson, 70-65, on February 11, 2011, in Babson Park. Russell Braithwaite '13 led all scorers with 16 points to go along with eight rebounds for the Beavers, who led 38-29 at the half.

Wheaton (8-6, 3-0 NEWMAC) is off to its best start in conference play since 2005 after defeating Springfield, 67-63, on Wednesday night. Junior Ryan Fogarty scored 19 points and senior Quinton Dale added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Lyons, who made four straight free throws over the final 49 seconds to secure their first win over the Pride since 2011. Fogarty is averaging 14.7 points and 3.4 boards, Dale (13.6 pts, 10.6 reb) leads the NEWMAC in rebounding and sophomore David Carbonello (11.9 pts, 4.7 reb) is shooting 46.6 percent from the floor. Over its first three conference games, Wheaton leads the league in field-goal percentage (49.1) and is second in scoring offense (79.0 points).

No. 1 Babson (13-1, 3-0 NEWMAC) ran its home winning streak to 14 with a 65-59 victory over WPI on Wednesday night. Nelsen scored a game-high 16 points, while juniors Nick Comenale and Bradley Jacks each finished with 11 for the Beavers, who built a 24-point second-half lead before holding off the Engineers. Flannery (24.2 pts, 5.9 reb, 4.2 ast) has reached double figures in 54 straight games, Comenale is averaging 17.9 points and 5.4 rebounds, and Nelsen (13.9 pts, 6.8 reb) is shooting a league-best 63.3 percent from the floor. The Green and White ranks fourth in Division III in scoring margin (17.1 points) and is holding its opponents to just 38.6 percent shooting, which is good for 14th nationally.

Flannery ranks 13th in Division III in scoring, Nelsen is 18th in field-goal percentage and Comenale is 25th nationally in three-point field goals per game (3.36) and 28th in three-point field-goal percentage (46.1).

The Beavers, who are 38-4 at Staake Gymnasium since the start of the 2014-15 campaign, have shot 50.7 percent and are winning by an average of 22.3 points in eight home contests this winter. Senior Sam Bohmiller is shooting 69 percent overall and 68.4 percent from beyond the arc at home, while the team boasts a 1.65 assist-to-turnover ratio is averaging 10.5 three-point field goals on 44.2 percent shooting.

Nelsen has reached double figures in seven of the last eight games, which includes scoring 20 or more points on three occasions, while Jacks has reached double digits in four straight contests and is averaging 13.5 points and 7.8 rebounds during this stretch.

The Green and White is 3-0 this season and has won 27 consecutive Saturday games going back to the beginning of the 2014-15 season. Babson's last Saturday loss came in the 2014 NEWMAC Tournament semifinals against Springfield.

The Beavers have had at least three players reach double figures in 28 consecutive games going back to last January.