Babson finishes title run

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Babson's Joey Flannery hoists the Walnut and Bronze while Babson celebrates the College's first men's basketball national championship.
Photo by Dave Hilbert, 

Joey Flannery blocked a potential game-winning shot with three seconds left and Babson held off Augustana 79-78 to win the 2017 Division III men's basketball championship.

As Augustana did in Friday's semifinal, the Vikings opened the game with hot shooting and built a 10-point lead on Dylan Sortillo's three-pointer midway through the first period. Nick Comenale sparked a 25-5 run for Babson with a pair of three pointers and a layup and the Beavers took a 41-31 lead into the half.

Babson held Augustana at arm's length for much of the second half and led 71-61 with six minutes to play when the Vikings started their rally. Nolan Ebel hit a three-pointer with less than three minutes left to pull the Vikings within four at 79-75. After a couple of empty possessions for both teams, Augustana fouled Babson with 21 seconds left, sending the Beavers to the free throw line for one-and one. They missed the first shot and Augustana grabbed the rebound and found Jacob Johnston for three to cut the lead to 79-78 with 10 seconds left.

Babson again missed the front end of a one-and-one and the Vikings gave the ball to Ebel who raced down the floor. Ebel tried to arc a shot over three Babson defenders with three seconds left but Flannery smacked the ball away. Babson grabbed the rebound and was fouled with one second left. Babson missed the one-and-one again but, after an Augustana time out, the Vikings only had time for a long heave down the floor that was deflected away.

Flannery finished with 23 points, which gives him 2,620 in his career, good enough for eighth place all-time in Division III. Isaiah Nelsen scored 10 of his 18 points in the second half and Comenale finished with 16 points for Babson. 

Ebel notched 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists for Augustana (24-9). Augustana finishes as national runner-up for the second time in three seasons.

Babson's championship is the first men's basketball title for the College and the fifth overall in team sports. Babson won three titles in men's soccer in 1975, 1979 and 1980 and a men's hockey championship in 1984. 

Flannery, who was named Player of the Year before the game, took home the Most Oustanding Player award. The other members of the All-Tournament team were Nelsen, Ebel, Chrishawn Orange for Augustana and Daniel Aronowitz for Williams.

Before the title game, the East All-Stars defeated the West All-Stars 139-116 in the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Reese's Division III All-Star Game. Recap