WELLESLEY, MASS. -- Sophomore tri-captain Chris Michalowski (Bristol, Conn.) scored nine straight points during a key second-half stretch to lead Babson College to an 82-73 victory over Plymouth State College in the championship game of the 2001 Babson Invitational Tournament. As a result of his outstanding defense and timely scoring, Michalowski was named the tourney's Most Valuable Player.
Babson took control late in the first half, as sophomore Jeff Hines (Waltham, Mass.) hit two straight slashing lay-ups to spark a 9-0 run that put the Beavers ahead, 38-23. Babson would eventually take a 42-27 advantage into the locker room behind 11 first-half points from both Hines and senior Giles Westie (Jericho, Vt.).
The Beavers maintained a sizable lead during the first 12 minutes of the second half, but Plymouth State would finally gain some momentum late in the period. After Babson tri-captain Joe Colelli (Milford, Mass.) converted a three-point play to give his team a 61-48 advantage, the Panthers cut the lead to just eight with a 7-2 run that was capped off by a huge three-pointer from junior tri-captain Kenny Stewart (Londonderry, N.H.).
However, Michalowski answered with back-to-back buckets, including a long three-pointer, to push the lead back to 13 with five minutes remaining.
Plymouth State continued to battle back behind Stewart, who scored seven of his team's final 10 points, but the Panthers would be unable to put together consecutive baskets in the final three minutes of play. On the other end, Babson connected on eight of its 12 free throw attempts in the closing minutes to hold on to the 82-73 victory.
Michalowski recorded with 11 points, four assists and four steals in the victory, Hines finished off a spectacular effort with 17 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals to earn All-Tournament honors. Westie also added 17 points for Babson, while Colelli chipped in with 12.
Plymouth State was paced by Stewart, who netted a game-high 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting, and senior tri-captain Jason Blackburn (Hudson, Mass.), who recorded his straight double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Stewart, who also notched six steals, was selected to the All-Tournament team. Sophomore guard Mike Loughlin (Manchester, N.H./West) also contributed 12 points and freshman guard Nick Pelotte (Bingham, Maine) added 11.
The Panthers, 1-1, return to action Tuesday (Nov. 20) with a non-conference game at Johnson State (7:30 p.m.).
(Courtesy Babson Sports Information)