Converse Shines in Men’s Basketball’s Setback to Nationally-Ranked Babson

Shane Farley

WORCESTER – Babson senior Joey Flannery (Acton, MA) delivered his 16th career double-double, and third of the season, to key a 62-45 victory over host WPI Saturday afternoon in Harrington Auditorium.

The Beavers (20-1, 10-0 NEWMAC), who are ranked No. 1 in the Top 25, extend their NEWMAC regular season winning streak to 21 games while the Engineers slip to 14-7 and 5-5.

Flannery posted game-bests of 18 points and 10 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Senior Isiah Nelson (North Andover, MA) narrowly missed a double-double of his own with nine points and 10 rebounds. Junior Nick Comenale (New York Mills. NY) added 15 points and seven rebounds for the guests while junior Chris Lowry (Union, CT) shared game-high honors with four helpers.

WPI was paced by senior Ian Converse (Woodstock, CT) who totaled 13 of his 17 points in the second half. Junior Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) pulled down a team-best six rebounds as he and Junior Dave Zielinski (Shelton, CT) each pitched in with five points.

Babson took the lead for good 55 seconds into the matchup behind a Flannery three. The Beavers went on to build a 20-point advantage with 3:18 remaining in the half. Just over a minute later, Converse sank two free throws. Sophomore James Loring (Norton, MA) followed with a jumper to continue what ended up being a 9-0 run. After going 3-for-27 to begin the game, WPI went 3-for-4 in the final 1:35 to get within 11 at the break.

Lowry and Comenale made it a 16-point game just 1:36 into the second. From there the Engineers were able to cut their deficit to 15 on four occasions, including buckets by Doncaster at 14:56 and 8:49. With 2:57 to play, Nelson used a rebound hoop to give Babson its largest lead of the afternoon at 62-38. Converse answered with a layup before junior Shane Farley (Burlington, MA) notched the last five points of the game in the form of a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws.

Babson shot 34 percent for the game while WPI was successful 26.7 percent of the time. The Beavers were better in the paint (14-12) and second chance points (14-8) as the Engineers bench outscored their counterparts 14-5 and claimed a 10-9 margin in second chance points.

WPI welcomes MIT and Babson hosts Springfield Wednesday at 7pm.