Springfield, Mass. - February 17, 2018 - The Springfield College men's basketball team earned its first-ever New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular-season title with a 77-65 win over Babson College in Blake Arena on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Springfield is now 18-7, 12-2 in conference play and will serve as the top seed and host for the upcoming NEWMAC Championship next weekend. The Beavers, who are the defending NCAA Division III National Champions, dropped to 15-10, 10-4 with the setback. This is the first time that Springfield will host the NEWMAC Men's Basketball Championship, and just the second time that Springfield has had at least a share of the NEWMAC regular-season title, the previous coming in 2005.
Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) led all scorers with 23 points to go along with five rebounds, three steals, and three assists and classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) put together an incredible showing, delivering 18 points as he connected on all six of his field goal attempts while pulling down 14 rebounds and handing out four assists. Cam Earle (South Hadley, Mass.) connected for 14 points and Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) totaled 11 points and four assists.
For Babson, Nick Comenale led the way with 19 points, Bradley Jacks chipped in 14 points, and Brandon Johnson produced 12 points.
After giving up the first bucket of the game, Springfield responded with a 13-2 burst, as Ross pulled up for a three-pointer in transition at the 16:01 mark. Springfield would extend its lead to 21-8 when Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.) got free down low for a finish in the paint at 12:13. Babson would use a 7-0 push to pull within 28-24 following a deep triple from Comenale, but Springfield would answer back with an 8-2 surge, capped off by a three-pointer by Ross with 4:16 on the clock to regain a 10-point advantage. Jacks delivered in the paint at the 2:27 mark to make it a 38-32 ball game, only to have Earle cash in on his second four-point play in as many games to allow the Pride to earn a double-digit lead. The visitors scored the final four points of the stanza, with Comenale hitting a floater in the waning seconds to make it a 42-36 contest at the half.
Babson opened up the second half pouring on a 14-1 run, as Andrew Jaworski netted a triple from the left corner to force the Pride into a timeout facing a 50-43 deficit with 15:22 left in regulation. Springfield would clamp down on defense, forcing three-straight turnovers and using an 10-2 run, capped off by a turnaround jumper in the paint by Post to regain the lead. The hosts would then put the Beavers away, pouring on an 18-6 run over the next seven-plus minutes to open up a 71-58 led with 3:25 to play after McNulty knocked down a triple from the left wing. The Pride hit three of their four second-half three-pointers in the run and would hold on for the 12-point win over Babson, which proved to be just the Beavers second conference-road loss since 2014.