Late Rally Falls Short as Men's Basketball Downed in Matchup of Nationally-Ranked Squads

Ethan Harrell

WORCESTER – The Babson men's basketball team received a game-high 35 points from Jack Coolahan (Newtown, PA) and held off a late surge by the host WPI Engineers as the Beavers secured a 93-81 victory this afternoon in NEWMAC action. 

Both teams were ranked in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 with the Beavers sitting at No. 14 and the Engineers at No. 23.  With the win, Babson improves to 11-2 on the season and is now 1-1 in the NEWMAC.  The Engineers are now 10-3 on the season and are also 1-1 in the league.  

Coolahan went a perfect 13-for-13 from the floor in the game including 5-of-5 from behind the arc en route to his 35 points.  He was five away from tying the most field goals in a Division III game without a miss.  Mike Rapoza of Anna Maria (vs. Mount Ida, Feb. 13, 2018) Franklyn Beckford of Lake Forest (vs. Grinnell, Feb. 14, 2004 and Jason Light of Emory & Henry (vs. King (TN), Dec. 2, 1995 were all 18-for-18 in a game.  Coolahan added five rebounds, an assist and a steal. 

Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, CT) added 17 points and five rebounds for the Beavers, while Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, MA) finished with 13 points, seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.  Crew Ainge (Wellesley, MA) was the final Beaver in double figures with 12 points, five assists and four steals. 

WPI was paced on the offensive end by a team-high 22 points from Garrett Stephenson (Townsend, MA).  Stephenson connected on 11-of-13 from the floor and added two rebounds and an assist.  Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) added 16 points, four rebounds and six assists for the Engineers, while John Lowther (Hingham, MA) finished with 14 points on 6-of-9 from the floor off the bench and Ethan Harrell (Wexford, PA) provided a spark with seven points in the second half.   

Babson jumped out to an early 10 point lead, 17-7, after a layup from Andrew Kirkpatrick (Winnetka, Ill.), but WPI responded with a 16-6 run tying the game at 23-23 on a three by Jake Needleman (Morganville, NJ). 

With the game tied 26-26, Babson used a 9-0 run taking a 35-26 lead with just over seven on the clock. Babson continued to build the lead in the first half and headed to the locker room with their largest lead of the frame, 55-32. 

Both teams shot well from behind the arc in the first half with Babson connecting on 50% (7-14) and WPI 63% (5-8), but Babson was able to turn nine WPI first half turnovers into 20 points.  Coolahan led the Beavers in the first half with 22 points on 8-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-4 from behind the arc. 

WPI trailed by as many as 26 in the second half before chipping away at the lead.  WPI cut the deficit to single digits, 82-73, on a Stephenson layup with 3:03 on the clock, but Babson countered with a Coolahan bucket. 

An 8-3 run capped by a Harrell layup with 51 seconds on the clock pulled the Engineers within six, 87-81.  That was as close as they would get as the Beavers went 6-for-6 from the line in the final minute.  

The Beavers shot 53% from the floor in the game and 44% from behind the arc, while the Engineers connected on 64% of their offerings including 60% from behind the arc.  Babson only turned the ball over eights on the night and held a significant edge in points off turnovers (26-4). 

Both teams return to the court at 7pm on Wednesday.  WPI kicks off a three-game road trip by traveling to Wheaton while Babson entertains Coast Guard.