Men's Basketball Downs No. 1 Babson, 67-62, for NEWMAC Championship

Men's Basketball Downs No. 1 Babson, 67-62, for NEWMAC Championship

THE BASICS:

- Score: MIT 67, No. 1 Babson 62

- Records: MIT (21-6); Babson (25-2)

- Location: Babson Park, Mass. (Staake Gymnasium)

- The Lead: Led by NEWMAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.), the MIT men's basketball team built a double-digit lead and eventually held off No. 1 nationally-ranked Babson College by a thrilling 67-62 final on Saturday afternoon. This marks the fifth NEWMAC title in program history for the Engineers, who are now 5-2 in NEWMAC championship games. This is also the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance for MIT, all coming under head coach Larry Anderson

HOW IT HAPPENED:

- MIT led wire to wire in the first half as the Engineers built to a 14-7 lead over the first 5:15 following a three from sophomore AJ Jurko (Weston, Fla.). The Beavers answered with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to tie the game before MIT countered and extended the lead into double digits. The Engineers used a runner by sophomore Cameron Korb (Los Gatos, Calif.) to take the 27-16 advantage at the 8:30 mark, leading by as many as 16 before taking the eventual 44-29 lead into the half.

- The Engineers shot 53.6 percent in the first half, including a perfect 10-for-10 from the free throw line. MIT also forced 11 Babson turnovers over the first 20 minutes and outrebounded the Beavers by a 16-10 margin. Joey Flannery led the Beavers with 14 first-half points, while MIT got 10 each from junior Spencer Rust (Alamo, Calif.) and sophomore Bradley Jomard (Paris, France).

- MIT kept up the offensive pressure coming out of the break and with 10:07 left, the Engineers led 57-44 as sophomore Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) knocked down a three as the shot clock expired. Flannery countered with a pull-up three for Babson as the Beavers looked to cut the lead to single digits. They did just that on a layup from Charlie Rice and eventually made it a one-possession game with 2:20 remaining on a hook shot from Isaiah Nelsen.

- Babson cut the lead to just one on a Rice layup with 1:24 remaining, but that was the final basket of the game for the top-seeded hosts. After a missed basket by Rust, Babson was poised to take the lead as Flannery drove to the hoop. Butala swatted Flannery's attempt away though and the Engineers eventually regained possession after a Flannery miss. Four free throws in the final seconds accounted for the five-point margin of victory as MIT capped off the wire-to-wire win to advance to the NCAA Tournament.

INSIDE THE NUMBERS:

- Jomard finished with 17 points and a game-high five assists, while Butala had 14 points and Rust posted 12. Overall, MIT was a perfect 15-for-15 at the free throw line, held a 34-27 rebounding advantage and turned Babson over 15 times.

- Flannery was the lone Beaver in double figures with 25 points to go along with seven rebounds.

- MIT is receiving votes for the third straight week in the D3hoops.com National Poll and is seventh in the most recent NCAA Northeast regional rankings. This was a jump of two spots from the previous regional rankings.

UP NEXT:

- MIT is back in action next weekend as the Engineers will take part in the 2017 NCAA Division III Tournament. The Engineers will learn their seeding and destination during the NCAA Selection Show, which is set to take place on Monday, February 27th beginning at 12:30 p.m. on www.ncaa.com.

STAY CONNECTED:

- For the latest on MIT Athletics, follow the Engineers via social media on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

Senior Tim Butala and head coach Larry Anderson discuss MIT's 67-62 NEWMAC Championship Win Over Top-Ranked Babson!