Men's Basketball

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

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

No. 1 Men's Basketball vs. MIT
Wednesday, January 18—7 p.m.
Rockwell Cage—Cambridge, Mass.


Babson and MIT will meet for the 72nd time on Wednesday night in a series that dates back to the 1978-79 season. The Beavers are 51-20 all-time against the Engineers and have won seven of the last eight meetings going back to 2014.

Senior Joey Flannery poured in 24 points and classmate Isaiah Nelsen added 20 points and 16 rebounds to help the Beavers defeat MIT, 81-69, in the NEWMAC Tournament championship game on February 28, 2016, in Babson Park. Justin Pedley finished with 23 points and sophomore Bradley Jomard contributed 16 points 10 and boards for the Engineers, who led 43-39 at the half.

Jomard paced four players in double figures with 21 points and Ryan Frankel added 19 points and nine assists as MIT built a 16-point second-half lead on its way to defeating the Beavers, 71-66, on January 20, 2016, in Babson Park. Flannery had 21 points and six boards for Babson, which cut a 15-point deficit down to just three in the closing minute.

MIT (12-3, 4-0 NEWMAC), which is receiving votes in the latest Top 25 poll, defeated Springfield, 79-58, for its fifth straight win on Saturday. Sophomore AJ Jurko finished with 24 points, six rebounds and four assists, while classmate Dakota Pierce added 23 points for the Engineers, who outscored the Pride 48-22 in the second half. Jomard, who has not played since November 26, is averaging 19.3 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists, while senior Tim Butala (14.1 pts, 6.3 reb) is shooting 46.4 percent from the floor. Pierce is putting up 12.4 points and Jurko (11.3 pts, 5.6 reb, 5.2 ast), the NEWMAC leader in assists, is shooting 48.6 percent from three-point range. MIT ranks fifth nationally in scoring defense allowing just 61.0 points.

No. 1 Babson (14-1, 4-0 NEWMAC) ran its winning streak to five with a 76-57 victory over Wheaton on Saturday afternoon. Junior Nick Comenale finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Flannery added 16 points, seven boards and five assists for the Beavers, who held the Lyons to just 34.9 percent shooting. Flannery (23.6 pts, 6.0 reb, 4.3 ast) ranks 16th nationally in scoring, while Comenale (17.9 pts, 5.7 reb, 2.3 ast) has made 52 three-pointers this season, good for 10th in Division III. Nelsen (13.2 pts, 6.9 reb) is shooting a league-best 62.6 percent from the floor and junior Bradley Jacks is averaging 10.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. The Green and White ranks fourth nationally in scoring margin (17.2) and is limiting foes to just 38.4 percent shooting, good for 12th in Division III.

Flannery averaged 24.0 points and 5.2 rebounds, while senior Sam Bohmiller contributed 10.3 points on 66.7 percent shooting in three games against MIT last season. The duo has also been superb with the ball in their hands over the first two weeks of conference play as they rank first and second, respectively, with a 4.43 assist-to-turnover ratio.

The Beavers are 5-1 in six games away from home this season and are averaging 87.5 points on 48.1 percent shooting, and have made nearly as many free throws (101) as their opponents have attempted (105). The Green and White has four players averaging better than 11 points away from home, led by Flannery, who is contributing 30.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in five contests.

Babson ranks first in league play in field-goal defense holding its opponents to just 36.1 percent shooting, and also owns the conference's best rebounding margin (6.5). Additionally, the Green and White has allowed just 61.3 points over its last three outings.

The Beavers have won 20 consecutive NEWMAC road games since suffering a 71-70 loss at Clark on January 29, 2014.