Springfield, Mass. - November 20, 2014 - Senior guard Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) scored a game-high 16 points to lead the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 62-56 win over Elms College in its home opener in Blake Arena on Thursday evening.
The win boosts Springfield's record to 4-0, marking the third time in the past four seasons that the Pride has won its first four outings of the year. The loss drops Elms to 1-3.
Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.) added 13 points, while Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) posted his first double double of the season with 12 boards and 10 points to go along with three blocks. Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) provided a great spark off the bench, notching 10 points in 17 minutes.
Tim Putnam (Windsor Locks, Conn.) paced the Blazers with 13 points, while Conny Ihearahu (Largo, Md.) provided 11 points and nine caroms. Both Jerry Buchanon (Windsor, Conn.) and Kenny Lockett (Atlanta, Ga.) had 10 points in the loss.
As a team, Springfield shot 22-for-59 (37.3%), while Elms connected on 20-of-52 (38.5%) from the field.
The Blazers jumped out to an early 9-3 after Ihearahu converted on the inside 5:06 into the contest. Springfield answered back with six-straight points, using a conventional three-point play from Martin to get within a pair with 13:11 on the clock. Springfield would never take the lead in the half, despite a late rally that featured a thunderous dunk from Swenson with two minutes to play. A tough inside finish from Kadar Lynch (Springfield, Mass.) in the waning seconds gave the visitors a 30-24 lead heading into the break.
After a pair of freebies from Lockett gave Elms a 35-30 cushion 3:03 into the half, Springfield answered with a 7-2 push, with Martin stealing an inbounds pass and going the distance for a fast break bucket to even the game at 37 and force Elms into a timeout. Out of the break, Buchanon canned a deep three, but over the next 9:14, the Pride went on a 16-3 run, capped off by another Swenson dunk. Martin was key in the stretch, netting seven of his 13 second-half points.
Facing a 10-point deficit, the Blazers battled their way back to within one possession on a pair of occasions in the final 1:26, the last coming at 57-54 after Ihearahu knocked down a pair from the charity stripe. Out of a Springfield timeout, Martin found Eckles with a great look inside, and the first year finished while getting fouled, ultimately completing the three-point play with 17 seconds left to seal the game for the Pride.
Springfield will return to action next Tuesday when it travels north to play Keene State for a 7:30 showdown.