Wheaton's slow start leads to 64-54 loss at Babson

Wheaton's slow start leads to 64-54 loss at Babson

BABSON PARK, Mass. – The Wheaton College men's basketball team suffered a 64-54 loss to Babson College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Wednesday evening at Staake Gymnasium.

Senior Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) paced the Lyons (11-12, 4-7 NEWMAC) with 13 points while classmate Anthony Weeks (Fitchburg, Mass./Worcester Academy) chipped in with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Freshman Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) netted 13 points – including three 3-pointers – to go along with four rebounds and a pair of helpers.

Babson (12-12, 5-6 NEWMAC) was led by junior swingman Alex Rudolph (Bal Harbour, Fla./Miami Country Day), who posted his first double-double of the season with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Sophomore Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass./Franklin) added 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the arc and junior Russell Braithwaite (Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Mark's School) chipped in with 11 points. Senior Matt Florio (Skillman, N.J./The Hun School of Princeton) dished out a season-high 10 assists.

Babson combined hot shooting with a suffocating defensive effort to build a 40-20 lead in the first half of play. The Beavers shot 50.0 percent (15-30) from the field – including a 53 percent clip (8-of-15) from three-point range – and held the Lyons to just 30 percent shooting (7-of-23) in the opening stanza.

After Wheaton grabbed its only lead of the contest on a Weeks three-pointer 1:45 into the game, Babson took control with a 14-0 run that featured nine points from Palazini and five more from Rudolph. The Lyons picked up their second field goal of the contest on a layup by junior Scott Faucher (Lebanon, N.H./Kimball Union) with 11:43 to go in the half, but the Beavers responded with a 9-2 burst that pushed their lead to 25-7 with eight minutes left.

Babson led by as many as 23 in the first half and took a 40-20 lead to the locker room. Palazini led all players with 13 points while Rudolph added eight points and seven rebounds. Weeks and Capstick each recorded six points to pace the Lyons.

The Lyons climbed to within 13 points on a pair of occasions in the second half, only to see the Beavers answer right back and push the lead to 17 points. Behind seven points from Capstick, Wheaton made a late surge to pull to within 10 with 1:55 on the clock but could get no closer.

Wheaton held a slim 39-37 edge on the glass but was hurt by 19 turnovers which led to 28 Babson points. The Lyons finished the contest shooting 36 percent – including 47 percent from three-point land (8-of-17) – while Babson finished at 40 percent from the field and 41 percent from downtown.

The Lyons close their regular season with a 1 p.m. contest at Springfield on Saturday. Babson heads south on Saturday for a 1 p.m. contest at Coast Guard.