Beavers Set New School Record With 16th Straight Victory
BABSON PARK, Mass.—Sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) scored 13 of his game-high 21 points over the final nine minutes, including the go-ahead free throws with 1:50 to go in the game, as fourth-ranked Babson College defeated 15th-ranked Johns Hopkins University, 49-47, in an NCAA Tournament Sectional Semifinal on Friday night at Staake Gymnasium.
With its school-record 16th straight victory, Babson (28-2) advances to the sectional final for the first time in school history. Johns Hopkins, which had won 22 of its last 24 games, sees its season come to an end at 25-5.
After starting 3-of-11 from the field, Flannery made his final four field goals, as well as four free throws, and finished with six rebounds to lead the Beavers. Senior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) added 10 points and nine boards, while classmate David Mack (Holden, Mass.) and first-year Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) each finished with five points.
Senior Jimmy Hammer (Collegeville, Pa.) knocked down six three-pointers and finished with a game-high 20 points to lead the Blue Jays. Sophomore Ryan Curran (Flanders, N.J.) scored nine of his 11 points in the first half, while senior George Bugarinovic (Overland Park, Kan.) added nine points, five rebounds and three assists.
Johns Hopkins made six of its first seven shots, including three three-pointers by Hammer, to build a 15-6 lead just 4:53 into the contest. Flannery countered with a jumper, and Jacks followed with five straight points to pull Babson within a bucket at the 11:49 mark. The Blue Jays pushed their lead back to five, but the Green and White ripped off six consecutive points to move in front 21-20 on two free throws by Flannery.
Hammer and Curran connected on consecutive treys, and Curran added a layup with just under three minutes to go in the stanza to give Johns Hopkins a 30-25 edge at the break.
Both teams struggled to find the mark early in the second half as the Green White scored the only three points of the first six minutes at the free throw line to get within two. Blue Jays' junior Gene Williams (Broomall, Pa.) hit a three-pointer to make it a five-point game, but Babson scored six consecutive points to go in front 34-33 on a layup by senior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) with 11 minutes to play.
Back-to-back triples from Hammer put the visitors back up 39-34 at the 10:21 mark, but Flannery followed with a tip-in and a trey of his own to tie the game with just over eight minutes to go. Bugarinovic gave Johns Hopkins a 43-41 lead by making 1-of-2 at the line with 4:15 to play, but Flannery and Mack answered with free throws of their own to put the Beavers back in front 45-43 with 3:05 remaining.
Bugarinovic tied it on the Blue Jays' next possession before Flannery and Curran each scored to make it 47-47 with 2:03 left. After Flannery knocked down a pair at the line to put Babson up two, Johns Hopkins had three possessions to win or tie the game, but came up empty. Hammer took a contested three-pointer following a timeout with four seconds left that hit off the iron and was pulled down by Flannery to seal the win.
The Green and White shot 38.3 percent (18-of-47) from the floor and were just 1-of-9 from deep, but outscored the visitors 12-4 at the free throw line. The Beavers also held a 26-14 edge in paint scoring and a 37-26 advantage on the glass.
The Blue Jays, who shot just 20.8 percent in the second half, knocked down nine three-point field goals.
Babson will take on Trinity, which is making its first sectional final appearance since 1999, on Saturday at 7 p.m. with the winner advancing to the Division III Final Four next weekend in Salem, Va.
GAME NOTES: Babson is now 9-1 this season in games decided by five points or less…the Beavers are also 18-2 at home this season, and are 7-0 when holding their opponent under 50 points…Babson is 25-1 this year when outrebounding its opponent, and has won 38 of the last 41 when winning the glass…the Green and White has also won 31 consecutive games when outscoring its opponent at the free throw line...with 10 points on Friday, Wickey has now reached double figures in 32 of the last 33 games…Flannery has now scored 20 points or more in six of the last 10 games going back to February 7.