BABSON PARK, Mass. – MIT held a six-point lead with 14 minutes to play, but sixth-ranked Babson College came back to take a 62-51 decision in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball game. Junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) led the Engineers with 15 points, while sophomore Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) led the Beavers with 19 points, all in the second half.
It was close throughout the first half, with the score tied six times and the lead changing hands on nine other occasions. Babson (23-3, 13-1 NEWMAC) took a quick 4-0 lead, with all four points coming from senior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.). MIT (17-8, 10-4 NEWMAC) came back and tied things up on baskets from senior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) and junior Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) three and a half minutes in.
It stayed close over the next eight minutes, with neither team holding more than a two-point edge. Babson edged back in front by four on back-to-back baskets by Wickey, who finished with 12 points in the half, that made it 17-13 with 6:34 showing on the clock. Pedley then hit a pair of treys for MIT, with another three-pointer from senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) completing a 9-0 run that put the Engineers up 22-17.
Babson came back with six straight to go up 23-22 with two minutes left in the half on a pair of free throws by senior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.), but a put back by sophomore Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) in the final minute gave MIT a 26-25 lead at the half.
Pedley connected on a triple to start the second half, but Babson stayed with the Engineers and took a 31-29 lead on a three-point play by sophomore Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.). Babson still clung to a one-point advantage four minutes in when Pedley hit from long-range again, with the shot starting an 8-0 surge that carried the Engineers to their biggest lead of the day, 39-33, after a layup by senior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) with 14:16 to go.
Babson answered with a run of its own, outscoring MIT 11-0 over the next four minutes. Flannery scored the first seven points of the surge, with Mack's layup at 10:44 putting the Beavers up 44-39. Redfield got MIT back on the board with a layup to make it a three-point game, and the Engineers still trailed by just three with 8:29 to go when Butala hit a jumper that made it 46-43.
Pedley was the only MIT player in double figures in scoring, with Levene reaching double digits in rebounds for the Engineers with 13. Redfield and Butala both finished with nine points for MIT. Mack and Wickey each tossed in 12 points for Babson, with Wickey pacing the team with nine boards. MIT out shot Babson 37.7 to 35.1 percent and held a 40-36 edge on the boards, but the Beavers held the upper hand on the free throw line, outscoring the Engineers by 16 points from the stripe.
Next up for both squads will be the NEWMAC Tournament. MIT, the No. 4 seed, will host Emerson College, the No. 5 seed in a quarterfinal game on Wednesday night at 7:00 p.m. The No. 1 seed, Babson will host the semifinals and finals next weekend, with the Beavers taking on the winner of the MIT/Emerson clash in a semifinal on Saturday, February 28 at 1:00 p.m.