LEICESTER, Mass.—Senior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half and buried the go-ahead three-pointer with 1:08 remaining as visiting Babson College hung on to beat Becker College, 62-60, in non-conference men's basketball action on Tuesday afternoon at the Leicester Gym.
With the victory, Babson, which is receiving votes in the most recent D3hoops.com poll, moves to 4-0, while Becker drops to 3-2.
Palazini finished 7-for-10 from beyond the arc and scored 12 of the Beavers' final 17 points. First-year Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) contributed 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds, while junior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) added nine points and six rebounds.
The Hawks were led by junior Donovin Ford-Hayes (Windsor Locks, Conn.), who poured in a game-high 27 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Senior Tyler Roberson (Irvington, N.J.) chipped in with 14 points and shot 6-for-11 from the floor.
Babson raced out to a 22-8 lead in the opening 9:26 of the game led by seven points apiece from Dean and Flannery. Becker chipped away though, using a 12-4 run that included 10 points from Ford-Hayes to pull within 26-20 with 5:09 left in the period.
The Beavers were able to stretch their lead back to 12 before halftime, closing with a 10-4 run to take a 36-24 lead into the locker room. Junior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) started the spurt with a three-pointer, Dean followed with a layup, and Palazini buried his second triple of the game on the next possession to make it 34-22. The Green and White shot 58 percent (14-for-24) in the opening 20 minutes, and knocked down 5-of-9 from beyond the arc, while holding Becker to just 35 percent (9-for-26) from the floor.
Babson struggled over the first six and a half minutes of the second half, missing its first eight shots while also committing five turnovers as the Hawks pulled within 38-37. Sophomore David Mack (Leicester, Mass.) and Ford-Hayes traded buckets, Palazini buried one of his four second-half three-pointers, and senior Kenny Ross (Furlong, Pa.) knocked down a jumper to help the Beavers regain a 45-39 edge with 12:16 to go.
Ford-Hayes and sophomore Scott Dulaire (Bloomfield, Conn.) hit back-to-back triples for Becker, but Palazini against answered with a three of his own to put the Green and White back in front 48-45. Junior David Maturah (Windsor Locks, Conn.) made one-of-two free throws, and Dulaire buried another three-pointer on the next possession to give the Hawks its first lead since the opening moments of the game at 49-48 with 9:09 to go.
There were nine ties and a pair of lead changes over the game's final nine minutes, with neither team leading by more than two. Dean buried a three-pointer late in the shot clock to put Babson in front 57-56, but Ford-Hayes answered with a pair of free throws to give Becker a 58-57 lead with 2:12 left. Wickey and Ford-Hayes then traded hoops before Palazini drilled a deep three to put the Beavers up 62-60 with 1:08 remaining.
The Green and White was unable to extend its lead from the free throw line twice in the final 30 seconds, but escaped with a win when Ford-Hayes' long three-pointer at the buzzer clanged off the iron.
Despite shooting just 36.9 percent in the second half, the Beavers finished the game at 46.9 percent (23-for49), and knocked down a season-high 10 three-point field goals. The Hawks shot 56.5 percent (13-for-23) in the second half while making five of its seven trifectas after halftime.
Babson returns to action on Sunday when it travels to Bowdoin for a 3 p.m. start, while Becker will be at Brandeis next Tuesday, December 3, for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff.
Game Notes: Babson is now 2-1 all-time against Becker, with each of the last two meetings being decided by two points…The Beavers are 4-0 on the year and have won 10 of their last 11 games when leading at the half…Babson is 13-3 in the month of November going back to 2011.