Springfield, Mass. - December 3, 2016 - Freshman guard Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) posted 25 points and 13 rebounds to lift the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 64-62 victory over Westfield State in a packed Blake Arena on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Springfield College snapped its three-game slide to improve to 3-3 on the year, while the Owls fell to 1-4 overall. Both sides pulled down 37 rebounds over 40 minutes of play, while the Pride owned a 26-16 advantage in the paint. Springfield College shot 19-of-46 (41.3%) in the victory, including 7-of-16 (43.8%) from behind the arc, while Westfield State was 25-of-63 (39.7%) from the field in the setback.
Along with Ross's 25 points, 13 rebounds, four steals, and three assists, the Pride also received strong play from junior guard Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.), who notched 14 points and four assists, while first-year forward Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) posted 10 points, six rebounds, and four blocks in the win.
For the Owls, senior center Shane Pasquantonio (Ashland, Mass.) recorded a team-best 18 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Peter Mafo (Lynn, Mass.) posted 13 points to go along with a team-high three assists.
McNulty netted the Pride's first seven points of the game, as Springfield College took an early 7-3 lead over the Owls, before a jumper from Post and a triple from Ross pushed the maroon and white's lead to nine 4:57 into the contest. Westfield State made it a three-point game with 12:10 to play in the half on five-consecutive points from Sanchez, and would pull even with Springfield College at 18 on a triple from Pasquantonio with 9:00 remaining in the first.
Back-to-back baskets from Post gave the Pride a five-point cushion, before a Ross lay-up with 6:15 left made it 28-20 in favor of the hosts with 6:15 left in the frame. Another jumper from Sanchez would cap a 6-0 run for the Owls, making it a two-point game, before Ross converted a pair of free-throws before setting up a Keegan McDonough (Bath, Maine) three-pointer to make it 33-26, with 3:15 on the clock. The Pride would retain a seven-point lead, before Ross converted a three-point play to make it 39-29, Springfield College at the break.
The Pride pushed its lead to 13 to open the second half on three-straight points from Post, but the Owls responded with a 7-0 run to narrow the deficit to six points, capped by a jumper from Mafo 3:08 into the period. From there, Ross drilled a three-pointer and followed with back-to-back baskets to give Springfield College back a 13-point lead with 15:09 to play. Up 51-40 with 13:24 remaining, another triple from McDonough gave the Pride a 14-point cushion, but Westfield State went on a 6-0 run, capped by a lay-up from Mafo to make it 58-50, Springfield College, with 9:22 to play.
Westfield State made it a five-point game when Pasquantonio converted a three-point play with 5:43 remaining, before Sanchez drilled a jumper to make it 60-58, Springfield College, with 4:39 remaining. After a mid-range jumper from McNulty gave the Pride a three-point cushion, Pasquantonio hit one of his two free-throws to make it a two-point game, but a drive and finish from Ross made it 64-60, Pride, with under a minute play. Following a free throw from Aaron Burke (Worcester, Mass.) made it 64-62, the Pride was able to run out the clock and seal the two-point win.
Up next, Springfield College will travel to Trinity College on Wednesday, December 7 for a 7 p.m. tip off.