Men's Basketball

2017 NCAA National Champions | 9 NCAA Tournaments | 11 Conference Championships

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Preview: Men's Basketball vs. No. 25 MIT

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal Preview: Men's Basketball vs. No. 25 MIT

NEWMAC Tournament Semifinal
No. 2 Men's Basketball vs. No. 3 MIT
Saturday, February 24—3:30 p.m.
Blake Arena—Springfield, Mass.

Babson and MIT will meet for the 77th time on Sunday afternoon in a series that dates back to the 1978-79 season. The Beavers are 54-22 all-time against the Engineers and have won 10 of the last 12 matchups going back to 2014.

Senior Brian Kelley hit a three-pointer with one second to go in regulation and scored seven of his 10 points in overtime as visiting Babson defeated then-No. 8 MIT, 84-71, on January 31 at Rockwell Cage. Senior Bradley Jacks finished with 24 points and eight boards, while classmate Nick Comenale recorded 16 points on the night for the Beavers. Junior AJ Jurko had 24 points and first-year Hamilton Forsythe added 18 for the Engineers, who led by five with under a minute to go in regulation. 

Babson and MIT will meet for the fourth year in a row and eighth time in NEWMAC Tournament history on Saturday. The Beavers have won two of the last three meetings but dropped last year's conference title game and are 3-4 overall in the league playoffs against the Engineers.

Junior Cameron Korb hit the go-ahead three-pointer just over a minute into overtime to help the then-ninth-ranked Engineers defeat the Beavers, 80-78, on January 20, in Babson Park. Junior Brandon Johnson scored a then-career-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists, and Comenale added 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting for Babson. Forsythe had 25 points, while junior Bradley Jomard finished with 22 points, 11 assists and eight boards for MIT.

No. 25 MIT (20-5) closed out the regular season with a 71-59 win over WPI on Saturday afternoon inside Rockwell Cage. Jurko finished with 24 points and nine assists, while Korb added 23 points for the Engineers, who hit 13 three-pointers and shot 52 percent from beyond the arc. Korb (14.8 pts, 3.0 reb) ranks 11th in Division III with 92 three-point field goals and Jurko (13.0 pts, 5.1 ast, 4.6 reb) has averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 assists over the last six contests as MIT's leading scorers, Jomard (16.6 pts, 6.3 ast, 5.6 reb) and Forsythe (15.0 pts, 3.5 reb), have missed time due to injuries. The Engineers, who rank third nationally in scoring margin (16.9) and seventh in three-point field goal percentage (40.7), are seeking their sixth conference tournament final appearance in eight years. 

Babson (15-10) is looking for a win in the NEWMAC Tournament semifinals after falling to Springfield in the regular season finale, 77-65, on Saturday afternoon. Comenale recorded 19 points going 3-of-7 form behind the arc and Jacks scored 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor for the Beavers, who made just five shots over the last 14 minutes. Comenale (18.0 pts, 5.0 reb, 2.4 ast) ranks 31st in Division III with 79 three-point field-goals, Jacks (15.0 pts, 5.7 reb, 1.4 blk) is shooting 50.9 percent from the floor, and Johnson (12.0 pts, 6.9 reb) has reached double figures in scoring in nine of the last 10 games. The Green and White, which ranks second in the league in scoring offense (79.2 points) and field-goal percentage (48.5), is looking to reach the NEWMAC championship game for a fourth straight season for just the second time in school history. 

The defending Division III national champions need back-to-back victories to in order to avoid joining Wisconsin-Stevens Point (2006, 2017) and Otterbein (2003) as the only programs to miss the NCAA Tournament after winning the national title since 2000.

In 13 postseason games over the last two seasons, Comenale is averaging 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.5 assists while connecting on 33 three-point field goals. The senior guard, who ranks 17th in Babson history in scoring (1,214 points), enters the playoffs on a roll as he averaged 22.0 points on 60.9 percent shooting over the final three outings of the regular season.

With seven rebounds in Saturday's loss at Springfield, Jacks is now one of just 11 players in Babson history with more 1,000 points and 500 boards. He enters the conference tournament tied for 21st in scoring (1,086 points) and 16th in reboudning (504). Jacks is also third in school history with 74 career blocks.

The Beavers and Engineers will meet for the fifth time in the last 54 weeks on Saturday afternoon in Springfield. In addition to both road teams winning in overtime during the regular season, each of the four contests has been decided by five points or less or in OT.

The Beavers are 11-1 this season this season when four or more players reach double figures in scoring.