Babson Park, Mass. – Powered by a pair of strong interior performances host Babson College rolled to a 68-53 win over Clark University in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Staake Gymnasium.
With the win, the Beavers improve to 18-5 overall and 9-3 in league play. The nine conference victories are the most for the Green and White since the 2006-07 season and keeps them within one game of WPI (10-2) for the top spot in the upcoming league tournament.
Clark, meanwhile, sees its chances at a second straight playoff appearance disappear, after dropping their record to 12-11 and 3-9 in conference action. After starting the season at 9-2, the Cougars – a team with ten underclassmen and first year players – have lost nine of their last 12. They will need to win one of their final two games to avoid the program's fourth straight season under .500.
Down by as many as 11 in the first half (19-8), the Cougars started clicking offensively and eventually took a 33-32 lead into halftime, courtesy of a 25-13 spurt, highlighted by 12 first half points off the bench by Nicholas DaPrato (Marshfield, Mass.).
Babson opened the second-half with a 15-1 run, getting 13 of the points from David Mack (Holden, Mass.) and John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.), to grab a 47-34 lead just 4:43 into the period.
Clark wouldn't go away though, as nine straight points from Dow on a pair of three-pointers and a conventional three-point play sparked a 15-5 burst that cut the Beavers advantage to just 52-49 with 9:43 to go.
Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) buried a three-pointer from the corner two possessions later, and followed a Wickey layup with one of his own to put the Green and White back in front by 10, 59-49, with 7:07 left.
The Cougars would get as close as six following a jumper by senior Jake Gubitose (Fiskdale, Mass.), but Babson scored on four straight possessions, including back-to-back hoops by Flannery to make it 66-53 with 2:29 remaining.
Babson shot just 38.3 percent (23-for-60) on the afternoon and struggled from beyond the arc, going just 4-for-23. The Beavers pulled down 17 offensive rebounds while holding a 45-29 edge on the glass for the game.
The Cougars finished the afternoon shooting just 35.8 percent (19-for-53) and made just six field goals after halftime.
Led by 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals along with 18 points and eight boards from Mack, Babson controlled the interior, finishing with a commanding 34-20 edge in points in the paint.
DaPrato paced the Cougars offense with 16 points but connected on just seven of his game-high 20 shot attempts. Dow was Clark's most effective player on the afternoon, going 3-for-6 from behind the arc, totaling 12 points and six boards in 24 minutes. Marcus Armstrong (Malden, Mass.) meanwhile, chipped in with eight points, two rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
Both teams return to action on Wednesday with Babson playing at Coast Guard, while Clark hosts Springfield at 5:00 p.m.