SALEM, Mass. - Jack Coolahan (Newtown, Pa.) posted 22 points (FG 8-17, 3PT 6-13) and five rebounds as the Babson Beavers held off the Salem State Vikings 81-75 in the New England Big 4 Challenge on Saturday afternoon. It was a tightly contested game with a total of 13 ties and 13 lead changes. Coolahan scored the final five points for the Beavers in the final 2:53 of the game to seal the win. Babson improves to 8-0 on the season and advances to face Tufts in the championship on Sunday. Salem State falls to 1-7 and is matched with Brandeis in the consolation game tomorrow.
Both teams traded baskets over the first six minutes of the first half. Jaden Castillo (Lawrence, Mass.) drove to the hoop and made a layup and was fouled in the process giving the Vikings a 15-14 lead with 13:53 left in the first half. Babson's James Welch (Needham, Mass.) found Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) up court for a fast break dunk, trimming the deficit to 21-20 with 10:01 remaining in the half.
With 5:33 to go in the half, Coolahan drilled a contested three to tie the game at 34-all.
Salem State held a slim lead of 44-42 at the half. Salem State's Castillo led the half in points with 13 (FG 5-6, 3PT 2-3). Coolahan scored all 12 points (FG 4-10, 3PT 4-8) from behind the arc.
Both teams were efficient shooting as Babson converted on 54.8% (FG 17-31) of their shots while the Vikings nailed 50% (FG 14-28) of the field goals.
The first half contained 10 lead changes.
In the second half, Crew Ainge (Wellesley, Mass.) found an open Coolahan in the corner for a three-pointer to even the score at 58 with 13:08 remaining after the Vikings opened up a seven-point lead. Castillo euro-stepped into the lane and made a soft floater tying it again at 73 with five minutes left in the half.
However, in the final 2:53 of the game, Coolahan hit a three and scored a layup, giving the Beavers an 81-75 lead as the Vikings failed to convert on their end.
For the game, Babson shot 50.8% (FG 33-65) from the field and Salem State shot 46% (FG 29-63) from the floor.
For the Beavers, Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) finished with 13 points (FG 5-9, 3PT 3-3) and 10 rebounds. Salem State's Fern Berard (Malden, Mass.) tallied 16 points (6-11) and five steals while Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, Mass.) added a double-double of 22 points and 14 rebounds.