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.