Babson Park, Mass. - Visiting Clark University
used an 11-0 run in the closing minutes of the second half to
secure a 64-55 victory over host Babson College in a New England
Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball
matchup at Staake Gymnasium on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, the Cougars improve to 11-7 overall and 2-3 in the conference, while the Beavers fall to 8-9 overall and 1-4 in league play.
The victory also gives Clark head coach Paul Phillips his 350th career win and the 11th win of the season is already more than the Cougars had all of last season.
Sophomore Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass.) led Clark with 14 points and six rebounds, while senior co-captain Mark Alexander (Providence, R.I.) contributed 13 points, six boards, five assists, and two steals. Senior Jack Minister (Manchester, England) added 11 points for the Cougars, and sophomore Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) just missed a double-double with nine points to go with nine rebounds.
Babson was led by first-year Alex Rudolph, who scored 10 points and recorded a game-high four steals, and sophomore Kris Noonan, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds.
The two teams exchanged the lead 14 times in the contest, with neither squad going up by more than five until the final two minutes. After taking a 32-31 edge into the break, Clark went up by four twice in the opening five minutes of the second half. Babson then used a 6-0 run to move back in front, 42-40, with 11:36 left, and it remained a one-possession game until the Cougars' decisive run.
With Babson leading 51-50 with 3:48 remaining, Alexander netted five straight points with a three-pointer and a lay-up to give his team a 55-51 advantage. Vayda, Renshaw, and senior Reed Powell (Worcester, Mass.) then each drew a foul and sank both free throws to extend the Cougars' run to 11-0 and push their lead to 61-50 with 50 seconds left. Powell would later add two more freebies and Alexander hit one of two with 20 ticks left as Clark came away with the 64-55 win.
The Cougars return to action on Wednesday when it visits Springfield for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff.