Boston, Mass. - February 21, 2019 - The Springfield College men's basketball team had its season come to a close in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Championship Semifinals on Thursday night in the Brown & Plofker Gym as it was bested by Emerson, 80-69.
The win lifts Emerson to 15-11 as they advanced to the conference championship game for the first time in program history. The Pride's season comes to a close with an 11-15 mark.
Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) totaled 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists to pace the Pride, while Cam Earle (South Hadley, Mass.) tallied 19 points in his final collegiate game. Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) chipped in 13 points and eight boards as the Pride shot just 38% for the game and were outscored in the paint, 34-10.
For Emerson, Geoffrey Gray netted a game-high 24 points and hauled in 12 boards, Jack O'Connor produced 23 points and nine caroms, and Zach Waterhouse posted 17 points. Jarred Houston added 10 boards and 10 points in helping the hosts would a 39-32 edge on the boards, including eight offensive rebounds that resulted in 17 second-chance points.
The Pride jumped out to a 6-0 lead after triples from Ross and and Earle in the opening 57 seconds of action and a corner trifecta from Earle pushed the lead to 11-4 at the 16:32 mark. The hosts would storm back to take a 13-11 advantage on a three-pointer by O'Connor, but the Pride would respond with five-straight points to own a 16-13 lead with 12:17 play following a pair of freebies from Post. Springfield would push its lead back to 20-15 on a pull up jumper by Daryl Costa (Providence, R.I.), but Emerson would answer back with five-straight points of their own to tie the game up once again. A bucket in transition from Waterhouse with 3:19 left in the half gave the Lions a 32-28 advantage as the Pride whistled for a timeout, but Earle would come off a screen for his fourth triple of the game to tie the game at 34 with 1:02 remaining in the half. The hosts would take a 36-34 advantage into the break as the Lions outscored the Pride in the paint, 18-0, in the frame.
Gray went coast-to-coast at 16:36 for the finish as Emerson's advantage grew to 44-38, but Ross answered with a triple and a bucket in transition to make it a 44-43 contest just over a minute later. Houston scored inside to give the hosts a 54-48 lead, only to have Post answer with five-straight points to once again make it a one-point contest at 12:17. O'Connor would then heat up, delivering eight points as part of a 10-2 surge as Emerson's lead ballooned to 64-55 with 9:12 on the clock. Back-to-back triples from Earle made it a one possession game just over a minute later, but O'Connor would again score five-straight points as Emerson built a 69-61 lead at 6:55. Springfield would get as close at 69-65 after a layup by Ross with 3:41 on the clock, but Springfield would miss their next five shots and Emerson would go on to lead by as many as 14 points en route to claiming the postseason win.
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