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Captains Keene as WPI Engineers late rally



Trey Barber turned in a big afternoon for No. 4 CNU.
Christopher Newport athletics photo

Fourth-ranked CNU rallied after a struggling first half, No. 12 WPI topped Babson in the closing seconds and No. 6 Keene State had a much easier time with Western Connecticut the same time around. More from Saturday’s men’s action.

John Lowther had a big steal and Donovan Sevilla followed it with a bucket with 2.1 seconds remaining as No. 12 WPI rallied to defeat Babson 55-54 in a NEWMAC game. Babson (13-8, 6-4) led by five with under two minutes to play before the Engineers (17-3, 9-1) rallied to make it a one-point game with 1:16 left. Aaron Gao collected a Lowther miss and was fouled, hitting two free throws with 38 seconds left to make the score 54-51, but Aidan Callaway answered with a basket with 26.4 left and Lowther’s steal came with 15 ticks left on the clock. Babson was able to inbound in the frontcourt with 1.4 seconds to go and Parker Mason fed a nice pass for a possible tip-in at the buzzer, but WPI defended it and held on to win. Lowther led all scorers with 21 points.

No. 4 Christopher Newport turned around a pretty dismal first half and shot 52% from the floor in the second half as the Captains got past UC Santa Cruz 74-61 in a battle of two Coast-to-Coast Conference rivals. Literally coast to coast, the schools are 2,954 miles apart by the NCAA’s reckoning — just 28 miles short of the 2,982 separating UC Santa Cruz and Salisbury. The Banana Slugs led 29-26 at halftime, including holding Jahn Hines scoreless, but Trey Barber finished with 23 points in 28 minutes for the Captains, who improved to 20-3.

No. 6 Keene State had a more comfortable time of it in its rematch with Western Connecticut, as the Owls drove down to Danbury, Connecticut, and came away with a 92-76 win. Western Connecticut has lost two games on the season, both to Keene. Jeff Hunter had a monster game with 23 points, 20 rebounds and four blocked shots, while Spencer Aronson added 23 more and Octavio Brito chipped in 21 points. Kendall Robinson matched everyone’s game high, adding 23 points for Western Conn. Keene improved to 21-1, 13-0 in the Little East. Western had taken Keene to overtime at Keene on Jan. 7.

Johns Hopkins won its eighth consecutive game and its 12th game in 13 outings as the No. 9 Blue Jays got past Haverford on the road, 59-56. Ryan Trotter scored on a putback with just 28.6 ticks on the clock to pull Haverford within one. After trading turnovers, Jayden Nixon made one of two free throws to double the lead with 16 seconds to go. Trotter then missed on the ensuing possession and Nixon was fouled on the rebound. He again went one-for-two and it was a three-point game with 10 seconds left. Trotter sliced the lead back to one with a pair of free throws on the other end. Tom Quarry then sealed the win with two from the line with 4.3 seconds to play.

Oswego State couldn’t repeat its hot shooting from Friday might, but the No. 13 Lakers got just enough to get past Oneonta 58-51. Oswego shot 21-for-64 from the floor, just 32.8%, but got a huge block from Jeremiah Sparks in the final minute of the game and Ahkee Anderson hit two free throws to make the lead 58-51 with 20 seconds left. Anderson followed with a steal to seal the victory. Sparks scored 15 to lead the Lakers (20-2, 14-1 SUNYAC) on 6-for-12 shooting.

Marcellus Ross scored a season-high 27 points, including six 3-pointers, and Josh Wright hit a big 3 late to secure a win late for No. 25 Rowan at Kean, 95-88. Rowan held a 90-88 lead with 1:03 to play, and Kean couldn’t convert on its next possession. But the Profs did, as Wright connected with 19 seconds left to give his team a 93-88 lead and Ja’Zere Noel sealed it with a pair of free throws nine seconds of clock later. The Profs improve to 19-3 on the season and have won 11 in a row, while Kean fell to 16-6, 9-6 in the New Jersey Athletic Conference.

Josh Talbert led all players with 21 points and was one of four Yellow Jackets to score in double figures as No. 2 Randolph-Macon posted an 83-67 ODAC victory at Bridgewater to extend its win streak to 19 games. Miles Mallory had 18 points and added two blocked shots to give him 253 for his career, a program and ODAC record.

Catholic lost to Susquehanna back on Jan. 13 for its only loss of the season, but the Cardinals have been pouring it on on offense since, scoring 82 or more points in each of the past seven games, including an 87-74 win at Scranton on Saturday. Catholic (20-1, 9-1 Landmark) shot 51% from the field and nearly 49% from three in the win as the team knocked down 17 shots from beyond the arc. Five Cardinals made at least three 3’s in the win. Jesse Hafemeister led the way with 20 points and four rebounds, while Sean Neylon added 16 points, five rebounds, and four assists, with 13 of his points coming in the first half. Scranton fell to 14-7, 6-4.

Wooster beat its archrival for the fifth consecutive time, taking a close game and siezing control with 8:07 left in defeating Wittenberg 68-60. Jamir Billings found Turner Kurt down low for a layup that extended the Scots’ lead to 54-47, and Wooster maintained at least a three-possession lead the rest of the game. In fact, Wittenberg (9-11, 5-7 NCAC) went just 2-of-9 from the field over the final 7:44. Wooster improved to 17-4, 11-2 NCAC.

The season has been a bit of a struggle for Grinnell, but the Pioneers, who make their name in part by shooting 3-pointers in bulk, got their success on Saturday by shooting both in bulk and for percentage. Grinnell shot 24-for-43 from 3-point range, for 55.8%, in getting past Monmouth 119-109. The victory snapped an eight-game losing streak, a 10-game skid in Midwest Conference and marked their first victory of the new year for Grinnell. The 3-point shooting mark was the eighth-best in program history. Mitch Priest led the way with 21 points, including 6-for-8 shooting from 3-point range. Grinnell improved to 7-14, 3-10 in the MWC.

York (Pa.) won for the fifth time in six games as Kai Cipalla led four scorers in double figures with 22 points. The Spartans defeated Lebanon Valley 82-71. After starting the MAC Commonwealth slate 1-6, York has rallied to improve 12-10, 6-7 in the conference. Lebanon Valley fell to 6-15, 4-8.


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