BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Keith Brown (Pelham, N.H.) exploded for 29 of his game-high 38 points in the second half as Endicott College rallied from an 18-point deficit to defeat Babson College, 97-88, in the championship game of the Babson Invitational Tournament on Sunday afternoon inside Staake Gymnasium.
Babson, which had its two-game winning streak snapped, drops to 2-2, while Endicott improves to 4-0 on the year.
Sophomore Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) led four players in double figures with 21 points for the Beavers. Junior Julian Alexis (Somerville, N.J.) scored a career-high 19 to go along with seven rebounds, senior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) added 17 points and six boards, and sophomore Matt Pattyson (Piperville, Pa.) finished with a career-high 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Brown, who earned tournament most outstanding player honors, was 14-of-23 from the floor and 7-of-11 from behind the arc to lead the Gulls. First-year Kyle Henderson (Southborough, Mass.) scored 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with a game-high seven assists, while sophomore Joe Del Ricci (Greenville, R.I.) made all four of his shots to finish with 10 points in the win.
The Green and White shot 54.5 percent in the opening half and outscored Endicott 23-7 over the final 7:19 of the stanza to build a 50-34 lead at the break. Nine different players scored for the Beavers, who got 13 points from Johnson and went 7-of-14 from beyond the arc. The hosts also limited the Gulls to just 39.3 percent shooting and three triples over the first 20 minutes.
Jaworski scored on the first possessions of the second half and Alexis knocked down one of his three three-pointers to give Babson its biggest lead of the game at 57-39 with 17:25 remaining. Brown sparked a 23-5 run with five triples and 18 points to help Endicott pull even at 62-62 with 11:32 to play. The lead changed hands three times over the next two minutes before Del Ricci canned a three-pointer to put the Gulls in front for good at 68-66 with just under 10 minutes to go.
The Beavers cut their deficit to four twice over the final nine minutes, but Henderson scored eight points and senior Vinny Clifford (Danvers, Mass.) made a corner three and followed it with a bucket in the lane to give Endicott an 87-76 edge, its biggest of the afternoon, with 4:05 remaining.
Both teams return to action next Sunday at 2 p.m. as Babson hosts Bowdoin, while Endicott travels to nationally-ranked Middlebury.
• The Beavers are now 3-2 all-time against Endicott and the teams have met in each of the last three seasons in the BIT championship game.
• Babson's 50 first-half points are its most since scoring 52 in a win at Emerson on February 14, 2018.
• The Beavers had not allowed an opponent to reach 90 points since last year's 90-80 loss to the Gulls.
• Brown of Endicott was joined on the all-tournament team by senior teammate Joe Shehadi (Dorset, Vt.), Babson's Jaworski, junior Thomas Duffy (Fairfield, Conn.) of Suffolk and senior Milani Hicks (Scarborough, Maine) Maine-Farmington.