SALEM, Mass. (courtesy Salem State sports information) -- Babson junior All-American Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) scored 24 points and added five assists as the #11 Beavers defeated the Judges of Brandeis University 75-65 on the first day of the 2015 New England Big 4 Challenge at Salem State. The win bumps Babson's record to 6-1 while the Judges drop to 4-2.
Isaiah Nelsen (North Andover, Mass.) sparked the Beavers' offense as he recorded nine of Babson's 15 points in the first five minutes along the baseline. During that stretch, Nelsen also ignited a 9-2 run that allowed the Beavers to take an 18-10 lead with 13:16 left to play. The eight-point margin would be the largest of the half as the Judges battled back to cut the deficit to just two as Brandeis guard Jack Fay (New Rochelle, N.Y./Suffield Acad.) knocked down a three-pointer to bring the score to 31-29 with just over four minutes remaining.
The Judges bench played a vital role in their offense as they accounted for 21 of their 40 first half points, including nine points from senior Colby Smith (North Andover, MA/No. Andover). A pair of Tim Reale (Mason, Ohio/St. Andrews, R.I.) free throws gave Brandeis a 38-37 lead with one minute remaining, their first lead since the 16:37 mark. One possession later, Brandeis went up 40-37 after a Smith layup, but that lead was be quickly erased as Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.) drained a corner three ball with three seconds left to tie the game at 40-40. Bohmiller added nine points on 3-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Babson opened up the second half with a 9-0 run that provided a 55-47 advantage at the 13:14 mark. Minutes later, a pair of Flannery free throws gave the Beavers a double-digit lead at 59-49. Three-pointers from sophomores Jordan Cooper (Weston, Fla./Sagemont School) and Nate Meehan (Lowell, Mass./Phillips Andover) cut the deficit to just six, but that would be the closest Brandeis would come for the remainder of the game. Babson's success in the offensive end came from inside as they looked to Nelsen and Flannery in the paint, who combined for 42 points. In addition, the Beavers shot 88.9% (16-18) from the free throw line that sheltered their double-digit lead late in the game, including a pair from Flannery to secure the 75-65 victory.
Fay led the way for Brandeis as he tallied 11 points alongside junior Robinson Vilmont (Cambridge, Mass./Wilbraham and Monson), who contributed with 10 points.
Nelsen finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds while Bohmiller also added 18 points on 6-8 shooting from beyond the arc.
The Judges will meet host Salem State tomorrow at 1 p.m. in the consolation game. The Vikings dropped a 90-77 decision to Tufts, who will meet Babson at 3 p.m. for the title.