First-Half Run Carries Men's Basketball Past Emerson, 84-72

First-Half Run Carries Men's Basketball Past Emerson, 84-72

BABSON PARK, Mass.—Junior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) poured in a career-high 27 points as Babson College defeated visiting Emerson College, 84-72, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Wednesday night at Staake Gymnasium.

Babson, which snapped a two-game losing streak, improves to 10-8 overall and 5-2 in league play, while Emerson falls to 9-9 overall and 3-4 in the NEWMAC.

Senior Brian Kelley (Potomac, Md.) scored a career-high 15 points on 4-of-5 shooting, classmate Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) had 15 points, seven rebounds and five steals, and fellow senior Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) chipped in with 12 points for the Beavers. Sophomore Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) added 10 points, seven boards and three assists in the victory.

Senior Michael Sheng (Altadena, Calif.) scored 21 of his game-high 30 points in the second half, while junior Geoffrey Gray (Newton, Mass.) added 14 points, seven boards and three assists for the Lions.

After struggling to find a rhythm over the first seven minutes, the Green and White took control of the game thanks to a 35-9 run. Johnson, who scored 13 first-half points, buried a pair of triples to key an 11-0 burst, and then canned a pull up jumper in the paint to extend the Babson advantage to 28-15 at the 7:18 mark.

Comenale and Oftring combined for 10 of the Beavers' next 14 points, and Jacks drilled a triple from the top of the key as the lead ballooned to 45-19 less than two minutes from halftime. The margin reached as many as 25 early in the second half and was 61-43 after one of Kelley's four triples with 11:25 to go before Emerson started to chip away at its deficit.

Junior Will Lantier's (Centerport, N.Y.) three-point play trimmed the margin to 13, and the Lions pulled within 63-53 on a pair of free throws by Sheng with 8:18 remaining in the contest. A three-pointer by Sheng got the Lions as close as 68-59 with 5:07 to go, but Oftring and Kelley knocked down three-pointers to bookend a 10-3 burst that extended the Beavers' advantage back to 78-62 with under four minutes to play.

The Green and White, which shot 56 percent in the first half, made 13 three-pointers and outscored Emerson 19-8 at the free throw line.

Both teams return to action on Saturday at 3 p.m. as Babson travels to Coast Guard, while Emerson hosts MIT.

GAME NOTES
• The Beavers are now 23-2 all-time against Emerson and have won 11 straight in the series going back to 2011.
• Babson outscored the Lions 26-8 off of turnovers and improves to 6-1 on the year when forcing 16 or more miscues.
• The Green and White shot a season-high 90.5 percent (19-of-21) at the free throw line and recorded its highest percentage when attempting 20 or more free throws since a 19-of-20 effort (95 percent) in a 68-64 win at Springfield back on February 10, 2016.
• Babson's 13 three-point field goals are the most against a NEWMAC foe since draining 15 in a 95-77 victory over Springfield on February 8, 2017.