Springfield, Mass. - January 26, 2019 - Behind double-double performances from Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.), the Springfield College men's basketball team edged out Clark University, 61-53, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena. With the win, Springfield improves to 7-12 with a 4-4 mark in conference play, while Clark falls to 5-14 on the year with a 1-7 record against league opponents.
With the win, head coach Charlie Brock earned his 323rd victory on the Springfield College sidelines, making him the all-time winningest men's basketball coach in program history. The previous record of 322 wins was held by Ed Bilik, who led Springfield from 1966-1986 and was Brock's coach during his time as a student-athlete on Alden Street.
The Pride, which shot 22-for-60 (36.7%) in the win, held a 53-40 advantage on the glass, while also holding a slight 34-30 scoring edge in the paint. Clark was just 22-for-70 (31.4%) in the setback, but was able to turn the Pride's 13 turnovers into 16 points over 40 minutes of play.
Ross finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with 15 rebounds, four assists and three blocks, while Post delivered 10 points and 15 rebounds to lead Springfield College to its third home win of the season. Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) also chipped in 16 points, including 14 in the first half, while Jake Jacobson (Branford, Conn.) connected three times from three-point range and finished with 11 points in the win.
Clark was led by Tyler Davern (Webster, Mass.), who finished with 18 points on 8-of-14 shooting with nine boards, while Brendan Kittredge (Clinton, Mass.) finished with 11 points, five assists and three rebounds.
After an opening layup by the Cougars, Springfield went on a 9-0 run with Witter knocking down a trio of free throws, before Ross muscled two baskets in the paint which led to a Clark timeout with 14:41 left in the half. Coming out of the timeout, Ross would hit a layup and sprint down the court for an emphatic block which brought life to the crowd in Blake Arena.
With 7:42 left in the first half, Post knocked down a heavily contested corner three and drew a foul to convert a four-point play, boosting the Pride's lead to 17-10. Clark would attempt to answer back with a three of their own but great defense from the maroon and white, followed by back-to-back scores for Witter and Deonte Sandifer (Pittsfield, Mass.) would give Springfield a lead of 11 and force Clark into their second timeout of the half, trailing 21-10 with 6:45 to play. From there, five-straight points from Witter and a triple from Jacobson at the top of the key would push the Pride's lead to 31-15 with 3:03 left in the half. Ross and Witter would finish consecutive layups for Springfield College to end the half with a 40-19 lead over the Cougars.
A slow start for the Pride in the second half and nine points from Davern allowed the Cougars to pull within six of Springfield with 12:42 left to play in the contest, trailing 42-36. Following a few tough baskets for the Cougars, Springfield College would call a timeout with 10:42 left in the game tied at 42 apiece. After three more Clark baskets that gave the visitors a six-point advantage, Ross would assist on a Jacobson three to pull the Pride within one, trailing 48-47 with 5:52 left in the game.
From there, Ross would tie the game at 50 points apiece with a free-throw, before Witter cashed in the go-ahead basket with 1:31 on the clock, lifting the maroon and white to an eventual 61-53 victory after converting all six of its free throws down the stretch.
Springfield College will be back in Blake Arena on Wednesday, January 30, at 5:30 p.m. as they play host to Coast Guard Academy in NEWMAC play.