Springfield, Mass. - December 30, 2016 - The Springfield College men's basketball team raced past visiting Elizabethtown College, 86-64, in the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic on Friday afternoon in Blake Arena.
With the win, the Pride evened its record to 5-5 and will play Connecticut College in the championship game, which will take place on Saturday at 4:30 pm.
In its first outing since December 14 when it defeated Amherst College, who was the top-ranked team in the nation, Springfield put together its best offensive showing of the year as it netted 86 points, shooting 54.7% from the floor (35-for-64). Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) was outstanding for the Pride, scoring 28 points to go along with seven boards, five steals, and three assists in just 19 minutes of action. Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) poured in 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting while handing out four assists and Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.) dominated inside with 13 points, nine boards, and two blocks. The Pride outscored the Blue Jays in the paint, 42-22, and owned a 45-35 edge on the glass.
Elizabethown was paced by Peter Harding (Orwigsburg, Pa.) and Josh Eden (Slatington, Pa.), who each scored 13 points in the setback. The visitors were was held to just 22 points in the first half and shot 38.7% from the floor (24-for-62), including 5-for-20 from beyond the arc.
After Harding knocked down a three from the left wing to ties things at six-all, Springfield put together an 8-2 surge, with Ross netting six points, to earn a 14-8 cushion with 14:33 on the clock . The Blue Jays would climb within 17-15 when Eden muscled his way inside just over a minute later, but the Pride regained control for good when Ross found Juwan Bennett (Middletown, Conn.) in transition to cap off a 7-0 run, as the hosts forced Elizabethtown into a timeout with 10:42 left in the first half. Springfield didn't let up and closed out the frame on a 20-7 run to head into the break with a comfortable, 44-22, lead. Ross was sensational in the opening frame, tallying 22 points on 9-of-13 shooting, to go along with six boards, four steals, and three assists.
Avalon McLaren (Brockton, Mass.) drilled a triple in the opening minutes of the second half to push the lead to 27 and the Pride's cushion grew to as many as 30 when Ross knocked down a pair from the stripe with 17:50 to go. Elizabethtown continued to battle as its offense started to find its rhythm and closed within 61-42 on a runner in the lane by Ethan Dubois (Manahawkin, N.J.) with 11:55 to play. However, that's as close as the game would be and the Pride's lead would balloon to as many as 30 again when Anthony Reynolds (Springfield, Mass.) converted down low with 2:29 on the clock.
Connecticut College 77, UMass Dartmouth 71
The Connecticut College men's basketball team used a late second-half push to best UMass Dartmouth, 77-71, in the opening game of the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic hosted by Springfield College on Friday afternoon.
The win boosts the Camels record to 8-1 on the season, while the Corairs dropped to 7-4. Connecticut College will play in the championship on Sunday at 4:30 against either Springfield College or Elizabethtown, while UMass Dartmouth will play in the consolation game at 12 noon.
For Connecticut College, Zuri Pavlin (New York, N.Y.) led the way with 19 points and seven boards, while Daniel Janel (Fresh Meadows, N.Y.) produced a double-double with 16 points and 11 boards. Both David Labossiere (Stoneham, Mass.) and Lee Messier (Narragansett, R.I.) added 11 points in the victory as the Camels shot 26-for-62 (41.9%) from the floor and held a 41-35 edge on the glass.
Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) scored a team-best 18 points for UMass Dartmouth, while Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) came off the bench to net 12 points. The Corsairs owned a 36-28 edge in the paint and used a deep bench to outscore the Camels, 33-21.
Connecticut College opened up the game with a 10-5 lead using back-to-back triples to cap off an 8-0 run at the 16:11 mark. UMass Dartmouth would answer right back, and responded from a 14-9 deficit with an 11-0 surge that featured six points from Matt Craig (Dartmouth, Mass.), forcing the Camels into a timeout with 10:31 on the clock. A steal and finish in transition by Connecticut's Tyler Rowe (East Hartford, Conn.) knotted the game at 22 at 7:04, only to have a driving finish by Chris Mendes (Somerset, Mass.) pushed the Corsairs lead to 28-25. However, an 8-1 burst by the Camels, thanks to five points by Isaiah Robinson (Lynn, Mass.), put Connecticut ahead 33-29 with just over two minutes left in the opening half. The Camels would head into the break with a 35-33 advantage, with Pavlin leading all scorers with 10 points.
Janel scored seven quick points from Connecticut College in the opening two-plus minutes of the second half to put the Camels up 42-35. UMass Dartmouth trimmed the lead to 42-41 on a pair from the line by Robinson at the 15:20 mark, only to have four-straight points by Messier give the Camels a 52-45 cushion at the 11:39 mark. The Corsairs would eventually take a 60-56 lead with 6:24 left in regulation after consecutive jumpers in the paint by Nick Portelance (Fairhaven, Mass.), which capped off a 16-4 run. After trailing by as much as five points, Pavlin took over the game for Connecticut and netted six-straight points, including a deep triple, to provide the Camels a 72-66 lead with 1:31 remaining. The lead would grow to as much as seven and the Camels held on for a 77-71 victory.