BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) scored a game-high 28 points and classmate Isaiah Nelsen (North Andover, Mass.) finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds as third-ranked Babson College defeated Husson University, 92-76, in the first round of the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament on Friday night at Staake Gymnasium.
Babson (26-2), which has won 17 of its last 18 games, won its tournament opener for the third consecutive season. Husson (21-7), which saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end, drops to 0-6 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
Junior Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) scored 12 points and pulled down six boards, while classmate Chris Lowry (Union, Conn.) dished out a game-high six assists for the Beavers. Senior Charlie Rice (Barnstable, Mass.) contributed seven points and six rebounds, and classmate Matthew Droney (Canton, Mass.) added seven points and four dimes.
Senior Raheem Anderson (Miramar, Fla.) finished with 17 points on 7-of-31 shooting to go along with eight rebounds and five assists in his final collegiate game. Junior Mitch Worcester (Washburn, Maine) also scored 17 points, while seniors Eli Itkin (Pawtucket, R.I.) and Zach Curran (Washington, D.C.) added 12 apiece. Sophomore Justin Martin (Winslow, Maine) blocked nine shots in the loss.
There were six ties and 10 lead changes in a first half that saw neither team lead by more than six. Flannery and Nelsen combined for 32 points in the stanza, but the Green and White held only a slim 44-43 edge at the half as Husson shot 47.2 percent from the floor and got eight points apiece off the bench from Curran and senior Alonzo McCain (San Bernadino, Calif.).
The Beavers took command of the game with a 16-4 run over the first 4:28 of the second half. Nelsen scored eight points and Flannery added four as the hosts opened a 60-47 advantage at the 15:34 mark.
Flannery extended the lead to 67-52 on a free throw with 12:53 left before the Eagles countered with a 13-4 burst to cut their deficit to 71-65 with 10:03 to go. Rice canned a three-pointer in transition to push the lead back to nine at the 6:52 mark and then made the first of eight straight free throws as part of a 12-0 run that gave Babson its biggest advantage of the night at 90-71 with 3:01 remaining.
The Beavers shot 44.8 percent from the floor and outscored the Eagles 44-30 in the paint and 28-10 at the free throw line.
Husson, which held a 45-44 edge on the glass, shot just 34.9 percent from the floor.
• Babson's 26 wins this season are tied with the 2002-03 squad for the second most in program history.
• Flannery's 28 points are tied for the most in Babson's 17 NCAA Tournament contests. He also moved into 18th place on the all-time Division III scoring list with 2,481 points.
• Friday's win was the 98th since 2013-14 for Babson.
• The Beavers are 46-4 at home over the last three years, which includes a 22-2 mark against non-conference foes.