SPRINGFIELD, Mass.—Springfield College held visiting Babson College to just five field goals over the final 14 minutes and defeated the Beavers, 77-65, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon inside Blake Arena.
Babson, which will be the second seed in next week's conference tournament, ends the regular season at 15-10 overall and 10-4 in league play. Springfield, which is ranked sixth in the region, improves to 18-7 overall and captured its first NEWMAC regular season title since 2005 with a 12-2 mark.
Senior Nick Comenale (New York Mills, N.Y.) recorded 19 points going 3-of-7 from behind the arc, classmate Bradley Jacks (Fort Washington, Md.) posted 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor to go along with seven rebounds, and junior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) chipped in with 12 points for the Beavers.
Sophomore Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) scored 23 points leading four Pride players in double figures. Classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) recorded a double-double with 18 points and 14 boards, junior Cam Earle (South Hadley, Mass.) chipped in with 14 points, and senior Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) finished with 11 points.
Ross and Post combined for 17 points as Springfield built a 24-12 lead, its largest of the half, just over nine minutes into the contest. Babson responded with a 7-0 run to get as close as 28-24 on a triple by Comenale, but Ross responded with a pair of three-pointers to push the Pride's advantage back to 36-26 with 4:16 to go until halftime.
Late hoops by Johnson and Comenale pulled the cut the Beavers' deficit to just 42-36 at the break, and the Green and White ripped off a 14-1 run over the first 4:42 of the second half. Comenale and Jacks combined for nine points and Jaworski hit a triple from the corner to extend the Babson lead to 50-43 with 15:18 remaining.
The lead was short-lived though, as Springfield outscored the Beavers 26-6 over the next 12 minutes. Earle connected on two three-pointers in three possessions to give the Pride a 61-56 advantage with 9:14 left. Following three free throws, McNulty sandwiched a layup and a three-pointer around a bucket from Eckles to give the hosts 71-58 lead with 3:25 to go.
The Beavers, who went just 5-of-16 over the final 14 minutes, shot 49.2 percent for the game and held a 12-9 advantage in points off turnovers. The Pride shot 45.9 percent on the afternoon and committed just one second-half turnover.
Both teams return to action next Saturday in NEWMAC Tournament semifinal action. Babson will take on MIT in the second of two semifinal contests at Springfield, while the Pride will take on either WPI or Wheaton.
• The Beavers are 24-39 all-time against Springfield and Saturday's loss was the first in 10 games against the Pride going back to 2014.
• Babson, which came into the game ranked 28th nationally in three-point field goal percentage, went just 5-of-23 (21.7 percent) from beyond the arc. The five triples are the fewest in a game for the Green and White since making four in last season's NCAA Tournament first round win over Husson.
• Saturday's loss was just the second in 32 conference road games for the Beavers going back to February 2014.
• Babson made a season-low two free throws and tied its low mark of the year with just three attempts.