function openSlideShow(){ + 56, ‘selectUser’, config=’height=442,width=300,scrollbars=No,resizable=Yes’);} Pictures from UR’s victory over Babson

BROCKPORT ? The men’s basketball team is one win away from taking a spring break trip to Salem, Va.

The Yellowjackets used their trademarks ? rebounding and defense ? to defeat Babson College 71-60 Friday night in an NCAA Div. III Tournament section semifinal at SUNY Brockport.

UR outrebounded Babson 37-26 and held the Beavers to 37.5-percent shooting from the floor. The Yellowjackets were also able to overcome the 20 turnovers that Babson forced.

“We got from Babson what I expected and that’s up in your shorts, tenacious [defense],” head coach Mike Neer said. “Normally we like to swing the ball and have everybody touch it, but that kind of played to their strength.”

The Yellowjackets (23-4) will play Brockport (28-2) in the northeastern sectional final at 7 p.m. at Brockport. Tickets ? $4 for students and $5 for general admission ? are on sale in advance from noon to 4 p.m. today at the Tuttle North Gymnasium at Brockport.

Junior guard Jeff Joss and freshman forward Seth Hauben both said they wanted to play Brockport before the Golden Eagles defeated Amherst College 69-65 in the other sectional semifinal. The UR fans in attendance echoed those sentiments by chanting, “We want Brockport!” with 17 seconds left in UR’s game.

The winner of tonight’s game will earn a spot in the Final Four on Friday in Salem. It would be the fourth appearance in the Final Four for UR and Neer. The Yellowjackets last made it that far in 1992 before losing in the championship game.

UR led most of the game last night, but Babson, who finished the year 25-5, stayed close until the last four minutes of the game. The Yellowjackets led by between two and seven points the entire second half until sophomore forward Andy Larkin converted a three-point play to give UR a 55-48 lead with 4:15 left.

The Yellowjackets made a defensive stop at the other end, and the UR fans who came to the game despite being on spring break got to their feet in anticipation of a big play.

Joss provided that big play by getting wide open and sinking a 3-pointer to extend UR’s lead to 10. After sinking the shot, Joss gestured to the raucous crowd. Babson was not able to get closer than seven points the rest of the way, but Joss said that the shot did not allow UR to breathe easy.

“They’re a tough team,” Joss said. “It definitely was not over.”

Joss led the Yellowjackets with 20 points, but four of his teammates contributed at least nine points each. Hauben scored 14, sophomore center Brian Jones had 10 and Larkin added nine.

“The hardest teams to guard are the teams that have all five guys that can make plays,” Babson coach Stephen Brennan said. “Rochester doesn’t have five, they have eight or nine.”

The Yellowjackets were able to overcome the 20 turnovers by shooting 50-percent from the floor and making 22 of 26 free throws.

“Once we got the ball inside, we scored well and JJ [Joss] continued to save us throughout the game with some very big shots,” Neer said. “The issue, I felt, was being able to take care of the ball. We felt if we got the ball past the perimeter, it would be shooting fish in a barrel.”

UR has made 39 of 46 free throws in two tournament games. Neer credits his unique practice philosophy for the success. UR players each shoot four one-and-ones in practice, with sprints in between each set.

“The most anybody shoots in practice is eight. We’re asking the team to average 75-percent,” Neer said. “It’s quality foul shooting simulating game situation.”

If tonight’s game comes down to free throws, UR would have a decided advantage. Brockport only made 16 of 30 from the line in its win over Amherst. Brockport also needed a late run to win their game. The Golden Eagles (28-2) were down 56-64 with 3:28 in the half but battled back to take the victory 69-64.

Babson senior forward Giles Westie scored 13 points in the first half, and it looked like UR might be able to cruise to victory when he picked up his fourth foul and had to go to the bench five minutes into the second half.

However, guards Joe Colelli and Jeff Hines kept Babson close until Westie returned with less than five minutes to play.

Jacobs can be reached at

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