WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass.—Senior Alex Carnes (Phoenix, Ariz.) exploded for a game-high 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting and the Gordon College reserves combined for 35 points on its way to a 76-68 victory over Babson College in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at Chandler Gymnasium on the campus of Williams College.
With the victory, Gordon is now 18-10 and advances to face either Williams College or Mitchell College in a Second Round game on Saturday night at 7 p.m. Making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2004, Babson sees its season come to a close at 20-7.
Senior Park Thomas (Scottsdale, Ariz.) had 15 points and was 10-for-10 at the free throw line while junior Jason Dempsey (Wallingford, Conn.) contributed 12 points, seven rebounds and a game-high four blocked shots for the Fighting Scots. First-year Dominic Paraids (Rochester, N.H.) also had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting, and junior Hans Miersman (Whitinsville, Mass.), despite being saddled with foul trouble for much of the game added 10 points and nine boards.
First-year Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) led four players in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds for the Beavers. Senior Kenny Ross (Furlong, Pa.) and junior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) each added 15, while classmate John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) had 10 points.
Babson missed its first five shots from the floor but surged ahead 10-6 behind an 8-0 run keyed by four points from Flannery and back-to-back hoops from Mack and Ross. Gordon wasted little time regaining the lead as Thomas and senior Shaun Roach (Weymouth, Mass.) buried back-to-back three-pointers, and first-year Dominic Paradis (Rochester, N.H.) knocked down another triple on the next possession to make it 15-10 at the 12:48 mark.
Trailing 25-12, junior David Mack (Holden, Mass.) scored in the paint on consecutive possessions to get the Beavers back within nine. Junior Jason Dempsey (Wallingford, Conn.) and Paradis both drilled jumpers for the Fighting Scots, and Carnes recorded a three-point play to put the Green and White in a 16-point hole, 32-16, with 2:32 to go until halftime.
Gordon shot 50 percent (15-for-30) in the opening stanza and led 35-23 after holding Babson to just 30 percent (9-for-30) from the floor.
Still down 12 early in the second half the Beavers used a 7-0 run to get back within 41-36 with 15:10 left in the game. Senior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) drained a three-pointer and Dean followed with four straight points. The Fighting Scots answered right back though, as Dempsey knocked down a jumper and Carnes buried a three from the wing to extend their lead back to 46-36.
The deficit remained between eight and 11 over the next 11 and a half minutes before Babson trimmed the Gordon edge to 66-60 on a layup by Flannery with 2:15 left. Carnes and Flannery traded hoops on the next two possessions and Miersma hit a layup on a cut to the hoop to beat the shot clock buzzer to give the Fighting Scots a 70-62 lead with just 49 seconds to go.
Ross converted a three-point play on the Beavers' next trip down court to pull within 70-65, but it is as close as they would get. Thomas nailed six consecutive free throws over the final 39 seconds to seal Gordon's first-ever NCAA Tournament win.
The Fighting Scots shot 57.8 percent (26-for-45) from the field and were 90.5 percent (19-for-21) at the free throw line. The Green and White shot a season-low 36.2 percent (25-for-69) from the floor and were just 5-of-21 from three-point range.
Babson scored 21 points off 19 Gordon turnovers and held a 17-5 edge in second-chance points despite getting outrebounded 35-30.
GAME NOTES: Babson is now 40-21 all-time against Gordon in a series that dates back to the program's first season in 1931…the Beavers are 2-6 all-time in six NCAA Tournament appearances…with his second field goal of the game, Flannery became the only first- since 1966-67 to score 500 or more points in their first season at Babson…Palazini wraps up his career with 192 three-point field goals, good for third all-time…Ross finished the season with 147 assists, which is the fifth-most in a single season, and his 296 career helpers are the sixth-most in program history.
|Game Highlights||Kenny Ross, Head Coach Stephen Brennan & Eric Dean|