Flannery’s 23 points, block lift Babson to Division III title

  • Babson's Charlie Rice (24), Nick Comenale (21) and Frank Oftring (30) celebrate the team's win over Augustana in the NCAA Division III college basketball championship game Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Salem, Va. Babson won 79-78. (AP Photo/Don Petersen) Don Petersen

Associated Press
Saturday, March 18, 2017

SALEM, Va. – Joey Flannery scored 23 points and blocked a potential game-winning shot from in close in the final seconds, lifting Babson to its first Division III men’s basketball national championship, 79-78 over Augustana on Saturday night.

Isaiah Nelsen added 18 points and Nick Comenale had 16 for the Beavers (31-2), who used a 25-3 run late in the first half to lead 41-31 at halftime, then held off a furious rally in the closing minutes. The Beavers had reached the final after erasing a 45-20 deficit in Friday night’s semifinals, beating Whitman, 91-85. Babson beat Keene State in the Elite Eight.

Nolan Ebel scored 20 points to lead the Vikings (24-9). Jacob Johnston added 15 points and Chrishawn Orange had 14.

Augustana closed within four points four times in the second half, including with 2:26 to play, but came up empty on two consecutive trips down court, the first time missing three shots. After Charlie Rice missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for Babson with 21.4 seconds to play, Jacob Johnston’s 3-pointer made 79-78 with 10.8 seconds left and the Vikings called time out.

Flannery then also missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 8.8 seconds left, but he blocked Ebel’s driving shot at the other end and Augustana was forced to foul again. Matthew Droney missed the front end of a 1-and 1 with 1.5 seconds left, and a full-court heave by the Vikings was knocked away, preserving the victory.