Springfield, Mass. – February 25, 2009 – The Springfield College men’s basketball team used a balanced scoring attack to take down visiting Clark, 85-66, in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament Quarterfinal.
Springfield, the No. 4 seed, improves to 14-12 on the season, while the fifth-seeded Cougars’ season comes to a close with a 10-16 record. The Pride now advance to travel and take on top-seeded WPI on Saturday. Game time is set for 4:30 pm.
Leading the way for the Pride was Pat Crean, who continued his sensational play of late as he pumped in a game-high 24 points to go along with a game-high eight rebounds and three assists. Ryan Coburn netted a career-best 13 points and added six boards, while Danny White chipped in with 12 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Matt Cavalieri came off the bench to added eight points, and Antoine Hicks tallied seven points as well. The Pride shot the ball extremely well as it connected on 53.4% of its shots and owned a 42-34 advantage on the glass.
Clark struggled from the field in the game as it shot just 34.4%, including a paltry 7-for-33 (21.2%) from downtown. Brian Vayda tallied a team-best 19 points, while Mark Alexander chipped in with 14 points and six rebounds. Peter Normandin finished with seven points as he ended his career with 1,000 career points after drilling a three-pointer with 7:37 left in the contest.
The game started off at a break-neck pace as the Pride led 17-16 after a Byron Roberts three cut Springfield’s lead to one with just under 13 minutes remaining the opening stanza. Springfield responded with a 7-0 run, capped off by an impressive drive to the hoop by Conner Flynn at the 9:49 mark. A conventional three-point play from Alexander with 5:49 brought the visitors within five, as close as they would get the rest of the game. The Pride closed out the half on a 14-1 run, getting five points from Crean, to go into the locker room with a 43-25 advantage. Crean was terrific in the opening frame as he scored 16 points in a variety of different ways, hitting jumpers and getting to the rim.
A fast break lay up by White gave Springfield a 24-point lead with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game, but Clark would not go away. Using a full court pressure and constant pressure on the Pride, the Cougars clawed back into the contest, getting within 15, 66-51, after a pair of free throws from Vayda. The Pride was too much tonight though as it went on to lead by as many as 26 after a Coburn bucket inside with 4:36 remaining en route to the quarterfinal victory.
Springfield owned the paint as it outscored Clark, 40-20, and recorded 17 points of the Cougars turnovers.