BABSON PARK, Mass. – Sophomore John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) scored 16 points and grabbed seven rebounds to earn Most Valuable Player honors as he led the host Babson College to a 60-54 victory over visiting Colby College in the championship game of the 2012 Babson Invitational Men's Basketball Tournament at Staake Gymnasium on Sunday afternoon.
In addition to Wickey, junior guard Kenny Ross (Furlong, Pa.) was also selected to the All-Tournament Team for Babson (2-0), while first-year Chris Hudnut (Chevy Chase, Md.) garnered all-tourney honors for Colby (1-1). They were joined on the All-Tournament Team by junior Isiah Pringle (Queens, N.Y.) of Salve Regina University and senior Dailon Wilson (Houston, Texas) of Wentworth.
Wickey's team-high 16 points came on 6-of-12 shooting from the field and a 2-for-4 clip from the free throw line. Ross added five points to go with game-highs of five assists and two steals, while junior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) chipped in with 13 points. Senior Russell Braithwaite (Brooklyn, N.Y.) added 10 points, first-year Travis Sheldon (Woodstock, N.Y.) recorded eight points, three assists, and two steals, and senior captain Peter Foley (Wells, Maine) and sophomore David Mack (Holden, Mass.) each finished with team-highs of eight rebounds for the Beavers.
Hudnut led all players with 18 points in defeat for Colby, while sophomore Connor O'Neil (Freeport, Maine) added eight points, four boards, and three assists. First-year Patrick Stewart (Bangor, Maine) scored seven points and collected five caroms for the Mules, first-year Ryan Jann (Westford, Mass.) grabbed a team-best seven rebounds, and first-year Luke Westman (Newton, Mass.) recorded two of the team's four steals.
The Mules surged out to a quick 7-0 lead in the first three minutes of play, but Palazini scored 10 of his 13 points during a 13-2 Babson run that put the hosts in front, 13-9, with 12:05 to go in the first half. From there, the two teams battled back and forth until the final 90 seconds, when Babson used a 6-0 run – including five points by Wickey – to head into the break up, 31-25.
The Beavers increased their advantage to as many as 12 twice in the second half, including a 51-39 lead following a Braithwaite lay-up with 10:25 left, and still led by as many as 11 after a Braithwaite jumper made it 55-44 with 7:37 to go. However, Colby refused to go quietly, rattling off 10 straight points, including three free throws by Hudnut and a three-pointer by O'Neil, to close the gap to just one, 55-54, with two minutes left in the game.
After the two teams exchanged misses, Mack made perhaps the biggest play of the game when he grabbed an offensive rebound in traffic and turned it into a conventional three-point play that made it a two-possession game, 58-54, with 53.0 seconds on the clock. Ross then followed with a huge steal and fast-break lay-up to make it a six-point game with 25 ticks remaining, and Colby would miss its final two shots as Babson held on for the 60-54 victory.