BABSON PARK, Mass. – Junior Marcus McDermott (Milton, Mass.) hit the go-ahead lay-up with 42 seconds left in regulation and sophomore Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) added a huge defensive play with 10.9 remaining as the Babson College men's basketball team held on to defeat visiting Framingham State University, 61-59, in a non-conference contest at Babson's Staake Gymnasium on Thursday night.
With the win, the Beavers improved to 2-0 on the year, while the Rams are still searching for their first win at 0-2.
Palazini led Babson with 12 points while hitting 4-of-7 from three-point range, while junior captain Matt Florio (Skillman, N.J.) and Russell Braithwaite (Brooklyn, N.Y.) each added 11. Braithwaite also added five rebounds and five steals, and junior Peter Foley (Wells, Maine) and first-year John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) each joined him with five boards in the victory.
For Framingham State, sophomore Tyrone Figueroa (Revere, Mass.) shot 5-of-6 from the field and 1-of-1 from the line for a team-high 12 points to go with six rebounds, while senior Marcus McLaurin (Braintree, Mass.) joined him in double-figures with 11 points and five caroms. Sophomore Juan Lopez (Holyoke, Mass.) dished out a game-high six assists for the Rams, sophomore Yemi Ajao (Randolph, Mass.) chipped in with eight points, four rebounds, and three steals, and senior Allen Saint-Surin (Brockton, Mass.) contributed six boards.
After closing the first half with a 10-3 run to take a 36-30 lead at the break, Babson saw its advantage balloon to 14 at 50-36 after a lay-up by junior Alex Rudolph (Bal Harbour, Fla.) capped a 14-6 burst to start the second period. The Beavers still led by double figures following a Rudolph trifecta that made it 53-43 with 10:40 to go in the game, but Framingham State rattled off nine straight points to get to within one at 53-52. Lopez started the run with a jumper, Ajao added two free throws, first-year Justin Perron (North Attleboro, Mass.) knocked down a three-pointer, and Saint Surin capped it off with a lay-up with just under eight minutes remaining in regulation.
It remained a one-possession game for the next five and a half minutes, with Babson taking a 59-56 edge after a Wickey lay-in at 2:40. Both teams then came up empty on their next two trips before McLaurin drained a gigantic three-pointer from the left wing, tying the contest at 59-59 with 59.8 seconds left.
On the Beavers' ensuing possession, Wickey secured the ball on the left block and fed McDermott on a back-door cut, enabling the junior guard to convert a tough lay-up in traffic for the go-ahead basket with 38 seconds remaining. Lopez then attempted to get the tying bucket when he drove down the left side of the lane at the other end, but Palazini stepped up to take a huge charge, giving Babson the ball back with 10.9 to go.
After being forced to foul, the Rams had one final chance when Palazini missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 8.2 on the clock. Figueroa took the ensuing inbounds pass, slashed to the basket, and missed an off-balance jumper from the right side, but Framingham State first-year Andre Santana (Worcester, Mass.) grabbed the offensive rebound on the left block. Santana then put up a desperation fade-away with one second left, but it glanced off the rim as the buzzer sounded, giving Babson the 61-59 victory.