WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) matched his career high with 27 points, but North Carolina Wesleyan College shot 50.8 percent on its way to defeating the Beavers, 83-70, in the opening round of the Catholic University Holiday Inn Tournament on Saturday night inside the Franny Murray Center.
Babson, which has dropped two of its last three games, slips to 6-4 on the year, while N.C. Wesleyan improves to 9-1 overall with its eighth straight victory.
Johnson finished 11-of-16 from the floor and tied for team-high honors with six rebounds for the Beavers. Junior Julian Alexis (Somerville, N.J.), who also grabbed six boards, classmate Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) and sophomore Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) all scored eight points in the loss.
Sophomore Damon McDowell (Martinsburg, W.Va.) scored 21 points and went 5-of-7 from beyond the arc, while junior AJ Frye (Wilmington, N.C.) added 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists to lead the Battling Bishops. Senior Chris Braswell (Durham, N.C.) finished with 10 points and classmate Robert Wilson (Chapel Hill, N.C.) chipped in with eight points, nine boards and four assists in the win.
Johnson scored 12 points and the Green and White held N.C. Wesleyan to just one field goal over the first seven minutes to build an early 10-point lead. McDowell capped a 15-3 run with a three-pointer that gave the Battling Bishops their first lead at 17-15, and then drained another triple to extend the margin to 28-23 with 6:05 to go in the opening half.
The Beavers trailed 38-35 at the break and were still down three just over four minutes into the second half before N.C. Wesleyan ripped off an 11-2 spurt to push its advantage to 56-44 on a jumper by sophomore Josh Covington (Portsmouth, Va.) with 12:19 to play. The Battling Bishops took their largest lead of the night at 61-46 on a putback by junior Mitch Layton (Leland, N.C.) with 11:04 left, but the Green and White responded with an 11-2 burst of its own to get back within 63-57 on a bucket by Johnson with 7:00 remaining.
Oftring hit two free throws and Jaworski added with a three-pointer to cut Babson's deficit to 71-66 at the 4:50 mark. The Beavers followed up a stop on the defensive end with a turnover, and N.C. Wesleyan made them pay as Braswell drilled a three-pointer and Wilson knocked down a jumper on the next trip to extend the margin back to 10 with 3:13 to go.
The Green and White shot 39.1 percent from the floor and just 27.3 percent from three-point range while hoisting up a season-high 33 attempts. The Beavers also were outrebounded 44-30 by the Battling Bishops.
Both teams return to action on Sunday as Babson takes on Catholic in the consolation game at 5 p.m., while N.C. Wesleyan meets Medaille in the tournament championship game at 7 p.m.
• Saturday's game was the first in program history for the Beavers against N.C. Wesleyan.
• Babson is 0-3 this season and has dropped eight of its last 10 games going back to the start of last season when allowing 80 points or more.
• The Green and White committed a season-low 10 personal fouls in Saturday's loss.
• The Beavers are 0-3 on the year when trailing at halftime.