Sunday: One final surprise

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Tim Butala scored 14 points as MIT topped No. 1 Babson 65-62 and busted someone's hopes of reaching the NCAA tournament via an at-large bid.
MIT athletics file photo

MIT upset No. 1 Babson 65-62 in the NEWMAC title game, creating one more surprise in a season full of them, leading into this week's NCAA tournament.

For the third time in three matchups with Babson, MIT took a sizeable lead on the Beavers, only to see them rally. This time the rally fell short as Joey Flannery tried to drive against an MIT triple-team with his team down one and came up empty. MIT made two free throws and survived a last ditch shot from the Beavers to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament. Babson is a lock for an at-large bid, but the Beavers will take up one of the precious spots that so many other teams need.

No. 9 Middlebury, No. 11 Benedictine, No. 16 Hanover and Guilford kept themselves out of the at-large bid madness by winning their conference's automatic qualifying bids. 

Jake Brown and Matt St. Amour scored 20 points apiece and Middlebury beat Williams 84-62 in the NESCAC tournament finale. Williams dropped to 19-8 but blostered its at-large chances with wins over Amherst and Tufts in the NESCAC tournament. Hanover won its rubber match with Mount St. Joseph 58-51, sending the Lions into the at-large bid chaos. The teams split their regular season matchups with each winning on the other's floor.

Benedictine took care of business and held off Concordia (Wis.) 93-89 in the NACC title game. Conference player of the year Tahron Harvey posted a triple-double for the Eagles with 13 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. Guilford kept the ODAC as a one-bid league with a 64-54 win over Emory and Henry in the tournament final. The Quakers shot 80 percent (20-for-25) from the foul line.

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St. Thomas has reason to be fired up. The Tommies join Amherst, Thomas More and Ohio Northen in completing their journey to the NCAA tournament with a perfect record.

No. 1 Amherst was already a lock to make the NCAA tournament, and the Purple and White will do so as the No. 1 team in the country. Amherst held off No. 3 Tufts 41-37 in another low-scoring battle between the NESCAC foes. Amherst beat the Jumbos 36-35 in their only regular season meeting. Amherst shot 42 percent (15-for-36) but did not make a three-pointer. Ali Doswell had 16 points for Amherst (27-0) and Melissa Baptista scored 19 for Tufts (25-2), which was also a lock to make the NCAA tournament. Recap

No. 2 St. Thomas became the fourth team to punch its ticket to the NCAA tournament with a perfect record, joining Amherst, Thomas More and Ohio Northern. The Tommies (27-0) defeated Gustavus Adolphus 66-49 in the MIAC tournament title game as Kaitlin Langer poured in 29 points. Gustavus Adolphus (25-2) should be a lock for an at-large bid.

After a slow start, No. 9 Trinity (Texas) came back to beat Texas Lutheran 78-67 and grab the SCAC's automatic bid. Texas Lutheran led 21-13 after one period but the Tigers pulled cut the Bulldogs' lead to two at the half and pulled away after the break. Elizabeth Balido scored 15 points off the bench for Trinity (25-1) who is good position to host for at least one weekend in the NCAA tournament.

Keene State nearly led wire-to-wire in a 71-58 victory over Eastern Connecticut in the Little East Conference title game. The Owls (21-7) got 23 points from Sandi Purcell and 21 more from Stephanie D'Annolfo. The Warriors (20-8) drop into the list of teams looking for at-large bids to the NCAA tournament.

La Roche extended its streak of AMCC titles to seven by rolling over Medaille 91-62 in the conference tournament championship game. The Redhawks shot 53 percent (36-for-68), paced by Tichina Mitchell's 33 points and 12 rebounds.

SUNY Poly finished its dominant run through the NEAC by plowing past Morrisville State, 74-47.  Stevie Ray scored 32 points in 40 minutes for the Wildcats (25-2), who head back to the NCAA tournament.

Babson defeated WPI 65-46 in a rematch of last year's NEWMAC title game to secure a return to the NCAA tournament. The Beavers (22-5) jumped out to a 35-21 lead at the break and didnt look back. Giovanna Pickering led Babson with 24 points. Amy Biney scored 11 points for the Engineers (23-5) who are hoping for an at-large bid. Recap