Men's Basketball

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National Championship Game Preview: No. 3 Men's Basketball vs. Augustana

National Championship Game Preview: No. 3 Men's Basketball vs. Augustana

NCAA Tournament—National Championship
No. 3 Men's Basketball vs. Augustana
Saturday, March 18—6:07 p.m.
Salem Civic Center—Salem, Va.

THE SERIES

Babson and Augustana will meet for just the second time on Saturday night in the NCAA Division III Tournament National Championship game.

LAST MEETING
Hunter Hill and Griffin Pils combined for 16 of their 28 points over the final eight minutes of the second half as then-sixth-ranked Augustana defeated then-fourth-ranked Babson, 68-48, in an NCAA Tournament National Semifinal on March 20, 2015, in Salem, Va. Senior Joey Flannery poured in game-high 27 points for the Beavers, who took a brief 45-43 lead with 7:41 left before the Vikings closed the game with a 23-3 run to advance to the national title game.

BABSON IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Beavers, who making their fourth straight NCAA Tournament appearance and ninth overall, have reached the national championship game for the first time. The Green and White, which also reached the Division III Final Four in 2015, is seeking its first Division III title.
 
AUGUSTANA IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
The Vikings are playing in their 16th NCAA Tournament and have reached the national title game for the fourth time in six trips to the Final Four. Augustana, which finished as the runner-up in 1981, 1993 and 2015, is looking to capture its first Division III championship.

SCOUTING THE VIKINGS
Augustana (24-8) advanced to the national championship game with a 90-79 victory over Williams on Friday night. Sophomore Chrishawn Orange led five players in double figures with 21 points and classmates Nolan Ebel and Brett Benning both added 17 for the Vikings, who led by as many as 15 in the first half and shot 62 percent for the game. Orange (14.2 pts, 3.3 reb) is shooting 51.4 percent from the floor, senior Jacob Johnston (12.7 pts, 5.3 reb) leads the squad in rebounding and junior Dylan Sortillo (12.6 pts, 3.8 reb, 2.1 ast) has knocked down a team-high 60 three-pointers on the year. Augustana ranks 26th nationally in field goal percentage (48.5) and has blocked 140 shots this season, which is good for 22nd in Division III.

SCOUTING THE BEAVERS
No. 3 Babson (30-2) set a new school record for wins by rallying from a 25-point first-half deficit to defeat top-ranked and previously unbeaten Whitman, 91-85, on Friday. Flannery finished with 24 points and 10 boards, junior Nick Comenale added 22 and senior Charlie Rice contributed 19 points and a career-high 12 boards for the Beavers, who took control of the game with a 29-5 second-half run. Flannery (23.5 pts, 7.2 reb, 3.7 ast) has scored 20 or more points in nine straight games, Comenale (16.0 pts, 5.5 reb, 2.4 ast) has made 15 three-pointers over the last four contests, and senior Isaiah Nelsen (13.4 pts, 6.1 reb) is shooting 65 percent in the NCAA Tournament. The Green and White ranks eighth in Division III in field goal percentage defense (38.4) and 13th in three-point field goal percentage (40.0).

WHERE TO WATCH
Saturday's championship game will be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network. There will be no online stream available. In the Boston area, the CBS Sports Network is channels 261, 856 and 1303 on Comcast XFINITY and channels 94 and 594 on Verizon Fios. Find the game in your area by utilizing the CBS Sports Network Channel Finder

THE JOURNEY ENDS IN SALEM
The Beavers' senior class of Flannery, Nelsen, Rice, Sam Bohmiller, Matthew Droney and David Stauffer has led the program to unprecedented success over the last four seasons, which includes 102 career victories and two trips to the Final Four.

MEN OF MARCH
The Green and White continues to get superb play up and down its lineup. Nelsen finished with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, Rice bounced back from foul trouble to record 13 points and 10 boards in the second half, and Lowry dished out a career-high and Babson tournament record nine assists against Whitman. Droney also was a major factor as he finished with five rebounds and five assists.

MOVING UP THE CHARTS
Flannery passed Mike Hoyt of Mount Saint Mary (N.Y.) for 10th place on the all-time Division III scoring list and now has 2,597 career points. Additionally, Comenale is now 12th on the program's single-season scoring list with 513 points this winter, giving the Beavers two players with more than 500 points in the same season for the first time in school history.

KEEPING IT HOT
Babson finished with 24 assists on 36 field goals on Friday night, marking the 10th time this season that it has dished out 20 or more assists in a game.

SATURDAYS ARE FOR THE BOYS
The Green and White has run off 37 consecutive Saturday wins going back to the beginning of the 2014-15 season. Babson is 12-0 on Saturday this season with eight double-digit wins.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS
The Beavers have won 42 straight games when leading with 5:00 to go in the second half.

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