BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and Babson College built a 15-point second-half lead before holding off visiting WPI, 64-60, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon inside Staake Gymnasium.
Babson, which has won three straight games, improves to 9-4 overall and 2-0 in league play, while WPI drops to 9-4 overall and 0-2 in the NEWMAC with its fourth consecutive loss.
Junior Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) contributed 11 points, six boards and a game-high four assists, while classmate Jack Coolahan (Newtown, Pa.) and sophomore Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) added eight points apiece for the Beavers.
Sophomore Reid Walker (Lithia, Fla.) scored 17 points, junior Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, Mass.) added 11 points, and sophomore Colin McNamara (Arlington, Mass.) chipped in with 10 points and three steals to lead the Engineers.
Johnson hit a pair of three-pointers and scored eight points to help the Green and White build a 12-2 edge less than five minutes into the contest. Walker scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the WPI deficit to 17-12, but Coolahan and Jaworski followed a pull-up jumper by first-year James Welch (Needham, Mass.) with consecutive triples to give the Beavers their biggest lead of the half at 27-14 with 7:34 left before halftime.
The Engineers pulled within 31-25 on two free throws by Dsophomore Kahleb Downing (Middletown, Conn.), but junior Shyheim Ulrickson (Topsham, Maine) buried a three-pointer and then found Johnson for a hoop in transition to extend the Babson advantage back to 36-27 at the break. The Beavers scored on three of their first four possessions to begin the second half to extend the margin to 44-29, the biggest of the game, with 17:24 to play.
The Green and White hit a rough patch offensively, connecting on just two field goals over the next eight minutes, as WPI used a 17-7 run to cut its deficit to 51-46 on a trifecta by sophomore Jake Needleman (Morganville, N.J.) at the 9:41 mark. Junior Julian Alexis (Somerville, N.J.) pushed the lead back to six with a triple and Oftring answered a hoop by McNamara with a bucket in the paint to keep the Beavers in front 56-51 with less than six minutes to go.
The Engineers got as close as two twice in the final three minutes only to see Babson respond with hoops each time on the ensuing possession. Alexis set up Oftring's three-point play after two free throws by Wisniewski to make it 60-55 with 2:44 remaining. Sophomore Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, Mass.) drained a three-pointer from the top of the key with 56 seconds left, but Oftring answered with another bucket in the paint on the other end.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as Babson travels to Coast Guard, while WPI hosts Wheaton.
• The Beavers are 49-30 all-time against WPI and have won eight straight in the series since 2015.
• Babson is 3-1 this season in games decided by five points or less.
• The Beavers are now 7-0 this winter when holding their opponents below 70 points.
• The Green and White, which shot 45.1 percent from the floor, is 9-2 this year when shooting better than 40 percent.