Norton, Mass. - January 11, 2017 - Despite 16 second-half points from Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.), the Springfield College men's basketball team was upended by Wheaton College, 67-63, on Wednesday evening in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) meeting in Emerson Gymnasium.
With the loss, Springfield evens its record to 7-7 and drops to 1-2 in conference play. The Lyons improved to 8-6 and 3-0 in NEWMAC action.
Durkin led the Pride with 16 points, while Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) hauled in a game-best 13 boards to go along with eight points, all of which came from the charity stripe. Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) scored all 10 of his points in the first half, and Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) handed out a game-high five assists. Springfield was limited to just 21-for-61 (34%) from the field, its second lowest output of the season, including just 6-for-24 from long range. Additionally, the Pride was whistled for a season-high 27 fouls, allowing Wheaton to go 26-for-35 from the free throw line.
After the Lyons raced out to a 7-0 lead to start the contest, Springfield responded with a 14-4 push, using an inside finish by Stanley Davis (Boston, Mass.) at the 10:33 mark to earn a 14-11 cushion. Eckles drilled a deep jumper to give the visitors a 21-13 edge just under two minutes later, only to have Wheaton storm back and gain a 29-24 lead when Ryan Fogarty and Timothy Berry buried consecutive triples to cap off a 16-3 surge which spanned an eight-plus minute stretch. Springfield battled back and eventually went into the locker room even at 32 apiece as McNulty knocked down a three-pointer at the horn.
Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) connected on a corner three to start the second half to put the Pride back on top, but the Lyons would capture a 42-40 advantage when the Pride was called for goaltending five minutes in. It was a back-and-forth affair, with Springfield relying on Durkin's offense to regain a 48-47 lead as the Pride burned a timeout with 11:16 remaining in regulation. The fouls would mount early and often in the frame, with both teams in the bonus with 10 minutes left, allowing Post to knock down a pair and make it a 53-49 game.
Durkin hit a jumper in the lane for a 56-52 lead, but Quinton Dale answered with five-straight points of his own to bring the hosts back on top. The Pride's last lead would come at 60-57 following another layup by Durkin before the Lyons used a 6-1 spurt to earn a 63-61 lead. A Durkin inside bucket would tie things with 1:28 to go, but the Pride turned the ball over twice and missed a pair of jumpers, while the hosts hit four free throws to seal the win.
Springfield will now prepare to take on MIT on Saturday afternoon for a 3:00 pm conference contest.