BABSON PARK, Mass.—Senior Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) scored 12 points over the final six minutes and sophomore Collin Lindsay (East Longmeadow, Mass.) scored the go-ahead layup with 1:48 remaining as 25th-ranked Springfield College defeated 14th-ranked Babson College, 84-81, in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball opener for both teams on Wednesday night inside Staake Gymnasium.
Junior Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) matched his career high with 32 points on 13-of-22 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds to lead the Beavers. Senior Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) posted his fourth consecutive double-double with 13 points and 10 boards, while classmate Jack Coolahan (Newtown, Pa.) added 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the loss.
Ross finished with 24 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals to pace the Pride, which saw five players score in double figures. Senior Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) scored 18 points, classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) contributed 14 points, 10 boards and five assists, and both Lindsay and sophomore Daryl Costa (Providence, R.I.) chipped in with 11 points apiece.
Springfield (10-2, 1-0 NEWMAC) led by as many as eight early going but Jaworski scored 20 first-half points and banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key to give the Green and White a 40-39 advantage going into the locker room. The Pride scored on its first four possessions of the second half, which included five straight points by Lindsay, to go back in front 49-42 before the Beavers responded with a 12-5 run to pull even on a three-point play by Coolahan with 14:19 to go in the contest.
Springfield went right back in front on a bucket by Witter and was up 61-56 before Jaworski finished off a an 8-2 spurt that gave Babson (10-2, 0-1 NEWMAC) a 65-63 edge with 7:58 to go. The lead changed hands five times over the next four minutes with Ross scoring five straight points to push the Pride back in front 78-74 on a three-pointer with 3:06 remaining.
Oftring and Coolahan converted on back-to-back trips to tie the game before Post found Lindsay all alone inside as Springfield grabbed an 80-78 lead with 1:48 left. Despite three straight empty trips and Ross extending the margin to four with two free throws with 22 seconds to play, junior Crew Ainge (Wellesley, Mass.) knocked down a three-pointer from the right wing after Noah Cummings () missed the front end of a 1-and-1 to cut the deficit to 82-81 with 9.2 ticks left.
Post calmly knocked down two free throws with 8.9 seconds remaining, and Ainge's potential game-tying step-back three-pointer at the buzzer would not go down.
Both teams are back in action on Saturday as Babson travels to 23rd-ranked WPI at 2 p.m., while Springfield hosts Wheaton at 3 p.m.
• The Beavers have dropped three of their last four and are now 25-41 all-time against Springfield.
• Three straight contests between the programs have ended with the road team winning by three points, and six of the last nine games between Babson and the Pride have been decided by five points or less.
• The Beavers, who shot 56.5 percent for the game, lost for just the second time in their last 59 outings when shooting better than 50 percent.
• Prior to Wednesday, Babson had opened league play with a win in six consecutive seasons going back to 2014.