WORCESTER, Mass.—Sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) scored 24 of his game-high 31 points in the second half and overtime, as eighth-ranked Babson College rallied to defeat Clark University, 77-73, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at the Kneller Athletic Center.
With its ninth straight win, Babson is now 21-2 overall and has clinched at least a share of the regular-season league title at 11-1. Clark, which had won two consecutive games, drops to 9-14 overall and 4-8 in the NEWMAC.
Flannery, who finished 10-of-19 from the floor and 8-of-8 at the free throw line, also pulled down five rebounds and had three steals for the Beavers. Senior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) had 17 points and five boards, junior Matthew Droney (Canton, Mass.) contributed nine points and four assists, and senior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) added six points, a season-high 14 rebounds, and four steals in the win.
Graduate student Andrew Musler (Belmont, Mass.) had 25 points and four rebounds to lead the Cougars. Classmate Nicholas DaPrato (Marshfield, Mass.) added 23 points, six boards, four assists and four steals in the loss.
Musler and DaPrato combined for 29 first-half points for Clark, which made its first five three-point field goals to build a 21-10 lead at the 11:42 mark. The Green and White cut its deficit to 23-16 on a trey by Droney, but sophomore Joe Atkinson (Milford, Mass.) and DaPrato followed with triples of their own to give the Cougars their biggest lead of the half at 32-18 with 5:02 left.
Babson answered with six quick points, including four from Flannery to get back within eight, but Musler drained his third trifecta of the half and followed with a pair of free throw on the next possession to help Clark push its lead back to 37-26. The Beavers again cut their deficit to single digits on a bucket by first-year Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.), but Musler scored on Clark's final two trips of the stanza to take a 44-31 advantage into the locker room.
The Green and White faced its biggest deficit of the season, trailing by 16 early in the second half, and was down 53-38 with 13:48 to play before embarking on a 23-2 run that spanned over seven minutes to take the lead. Dean buried a trey, and Wickey and Droney each contributed a hoop to cut the deficit to 53-45. Flannery scored 10 of the next 14 points to give Babson a 59-55 lead, and Wickey and Dean each added a free throw as the visitors grabbed their biggest lead of the contest at 61-55 with 6:24 to play.
The Cougars pulled back to within one on three occasions over the next three and half minutes, and tied the game at 66-66 on a pair of DaPrato free throws with 1:28 to play. Wickey answered with two free throws of his own at the 1:09 mark, but DaPrato got an off-balance runner to fall at the end of the shot clock to tie the game again at 68-68 with 32 seconds remaining. The Green and White, which did not make a field goal over the final 8:27 of regulation, had the final possession, but Dean's three-pointer from the corner was well off sending the game to overtime.
The Beavers scored on three of their first four possessions of the extra session, including a pair of buckets from Flannery, to match their biggest lead of the game at 74-68 with 2:55 left. Musler buried a 30-foot three-pointer and then sank a pair of free throws on Clark's next possession to pull back within 74-73. Flannery made it a three-point game with a pair from the charity stripe with 1:15 to go, and Dean stole the ball from DaPrato with 22 seconds left leading to a free throw from sophomore Charlie Rice (Barnstable, Mass.) to seal the win.
The Green and White shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) for the game and outscored Clark 28-16 in the paint. The Beavers also held a 43-29 edge on the glass and scored 23 points off turnovers.
The Cougars, who started 9-of-14 from beyond the arc, made just two of their final 17 three-pointers and shot 43.6 percent (24-of-55) overall on the afternoon.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as Babson hosts the Coast Guard Academy, while Clark visits Springfield College.
GAME NOTES: Babson is now 27-38 all-time against Clark and has won six of the last eight games between the two teams…the 44 first-half points allowed by the Beavers were a season high…Clark's 11 three-pointers are also the most made by an opponent this season…at 21-2, Babson equaled the 2002-03 and 1968-69 teams for the best 23-game start in program history…Flannery has now surpassed the 30-point plateau in two of the last three games and needs just eight points to become the first sophomore in program history to reach 1,000 for his career…Wickey has now reached double figures in 26 of the last 27 games going back to last season.