Babson Park, Mass. - February 25, 2017 - Playing the top-ranked team in the nation for the fourth time this season, the Springfield College men's basketball team's season came to a close as it was edged by Babson College, 67-62, on Saturday night in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinals.
With its 16th straight win, Babson (25-1) advances to Sunday's title game for the third year in a row, while Springfield sees its season come to a close at 14-13.
Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) led Springfield with 17 points and eight rebounds, while Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) chipped in 15 points. Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) registered 12 points and six rebounds, and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) contributed a game-high 15 boards and four blocks.
Springfield finished game with a 47-30 edge on the glass and shot 9-for-19 from beyond the arc.
Senior Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) finished with 30 points and six rebounds, while first-year Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) added career highs of 15 points and five boards. Flannery went 11-of-13 at the free throw line and Oftring finished 6-of-9 from the floor, including a trio of three-pointers in the win. Senior Charlie Rice (Barnstable, Mass.) came off the bench to score 11 points for the Beavers.
Taking on Babson for the third time this season, Springfield didn't back down and snagged an early 19-9 advantage when McNulty drilled a three-pointer at the end of the shotclock with 10:41 left in the first half. Over the next five-plus minutes, the Beavers put together a 19-8 push of their own to take their first lead of the game following an Isaiah Nelsen dunk with 5:41 on the clock. The visitors would regain a 32-28 lead on a free throw by Post, only to have Babson close out the half on a 6-0 burst to head into the break with a 34-32 cushion.
The Pride regained a 39-36 lead just under three minutes into the second half on an inside finish by Keegan McDonough (Bath, Maine), but the Beavers responded with a 17-7 surge, using a three-point play by Flannery to earn a 53-46 advantage at the 10:49 mark. Springfield would later take its final lead, a 58-57 edge, after two freebies from Eckles with 3:26 left in regulation. However, a layup by Charlie Rice two possessions later put Babson up for good and the hosts knocked down 8-of-10 from the charity stripe to hang on for the win.