Men's Basketball

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Wheaton Hands Men's Hoops First NEWMAC Road Loss Since 2014, 89-77

Wheaton Hands Men's Hoops First NEWMAC Road Loss Since 2014, 89-77

Lyons End Beavers' 27-Game NEWMAC Regular Season and Road Winning Streaks

NORTON Mass. - Wheaton College closed the game on a 22-8 run and dealt visiting Babson College its first New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) since 2014 by defeating the Beavers, 89-77, on Wednesday night at Emerson Gymnasium.

Babson, which saw its 27-game regular season and conference road winning streaks come to an end, falls to 8-7 overall and 4-1 in league play. Wheaton improves to 10-5 overall and 2-3 in the NEWMAC while snapping its 16-game losing streak against the Beavers. 

Senior Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) led the Beavers with 23 points, junior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) posted a double-double with 14 points and 13 boards, and sophomore Shyheim Ulrickson (Topsham, Maine) logged 12 points and six assists on the night. Classmate Julian Alexis (Somerville, N.J.) and senior Brian Kelley (Potomac, Md.) added eight and six points, respectively.

Senior Ryan Fogarty (Walpole, Mass.) led four Lyons into double figures with a game-high 31 points on the night. Junior Duaka Ekwensi (Morris Plains, N.J.) posted 17 points and eight rebounds, classmate David Carbonello (Windham, N.H.) scored 16 points, and senior Liam Bruno (Newton, Mass.) chipped in 12 points in the win.

After trailing by as many as nine in the opening stanza, a three-pointer by Comenale tied the game at 21-21. Wheaton when back in front 26-21 with 8:59 left in the half, but Alexis recorded a field goal to spark an 8-0 that gave Babson its first lead of the night at 29-26. Ekwensi recorded a jumper of his own to bring the Lyons within one, but a three-pointer by Kelley put Babson ahead 32-28. The Beavers continued to lead the rest of the half, going up as many as eight after Comenale knocked in a three-pointer to bring the score to 43-35. The Green and White, which shot 57.6 over first 20 minutes, led 47-41 following an Ulrickson layup just before the halftime buzzer.

The Lyons got off to a start quick in the second half, taking a 52-47 lead with 16:27 remaining in regulation. Down 59-51, Johnson hit a three-pointer,  sophomore Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) scored five straight pointspoints, and Alexis capped a 10-2 run wiht a layupto pull the Beavers even at 61-61 with 12:11 to go.

Tied 69-69 with 6:40 remaining the clock, Wheaton went on a 7-0 run to go in front for good. Babson came within three when first-year Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) made a three to bring the score to 78-75, but Bruno and Fogarty answered with back-to-back hoops before the Lyons closed out their win with seven free throws over the final 71 seconds.

The Green and White, which knocked down nine trifectas, shot 46 percent (29-of-63) from the floor, and recorded 15 assists on its 29 field goals. 

The Lyons, who outscored the Beavers 46-28 in the paint, finished 6-of-19 from three point range, and shot 50.8 percent (33-of-65) from the floor.

Both teams return to action on Saturday as Babson hosts MIT at 3 p.m., while Wheaton hits the road for a 3 p.m. game against Emerson.

• The Beavers, who had not lost to Wheaton since 2013, are now 34-13 all-time against the Lyons.
• Babson, which became the only team in NEWMAC history to go undefeated in league play last season, suffered its last regular season conference loss at home to WPI (67-57) on January 14, 2015.
• Prior to Wednesday, the Beavers' last conference road loss was a 71-70 setback at Clark on January 29, 2014.
• Johnson recorded his fourth double-double on the year, and his second in the last four games on Wednesday night.