Flannery's 23 points, block lift Babson to Div III title

SALEM, Va. (AP) Joey Flannery scored 23 points and blocked a potential game-winning shot from in close in the final seconds, lifting Babson to its first Division III men's basketball national championship, 79-78 over Augustana on Saturday night.

Isaiah Nelsen added 18 points and Nick Comenale had 16 for the Beavers (31-2), who used a 25-3 run late in the final half to lead 41-31 at halftime, then held off a furious rally in the closing minutes. The Beavers had reached the final after erasing a 45-20 deficit in Friday night's semifinals, beating Whitman 91-85.

Nolan Ebel scored 20 points to lead the Vikings (24-9). Jacob Johnston added 15 points and Chrishawn Orange had 14.

Augustana closed within four points four times in the second half, including with 2:26 to play, but came up empty on two consecutive trips down court, the first time missing three shots. After Charlie Rice missed the front end of a 1-and-1 for Babson with 21.4 seconds to play, Jacob Johnston's 3-pointer made 79-78 with 10.8 seconds left and the Vikings called time out.

Flannery then also missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 8.8 seconds left, but he blocked Ebel's driving shot at the other end and Augustana was forced to foul again. Matthew Droney missed the front end of a 1-and 1 with 1.5 seconds left, and a full-court heave by the Vikings was knocked away, preserving the victory.

BIG PICTURE

Augustana: The Vikings are 0 for 3 in the championship game, having also lost in 1993 and 2015. They overcame a 17-2 deficit at the start in their 90-79 victory against Williams on Friday night.

Babson: Flannery finished his career with 2,620 points, including 47 in the two games at Salem Civic Center.

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More AP college basketball: www.collegebasketball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25.

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More AP college basketball: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

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