Springfield, Mass. - November 15, 2017 - The Springfield College men's basketball team benefited from a combined 44 points and 23 rebounds from Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) and Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) as it cruised past Western New England, 88-70, in its season opener on Wednesday night in Blake Arena.
Springfield shot 32-for-64 (50%) from the floor in the contest and owned a 43-29 edge on the glass as the Pride turned 11 offensive boards into 14 points. Ross led all players with 26 points to go along with 13 boards, three assists, and three steals, while Post produced 18 points, and 10 boards. Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) contributed 17 points, and Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) turned in an 11-point, six-rebound performance.
Western New England was paced by 24 points from Mikey Pettway (Bridgeport, Conn.), Zach Tavitian (Milford, Conn.) added 15 points, and EJ Day (Norwalk, Conn.) delivered 11 points off the bench.
After McNulty converted for the Pride's second triple of the early going for an 8-6 cushion at the 15:50 mark, the Golden Bears canned consecutive buckets from beyond the arc to gain a 12-8 edge just over seven minutes into the game. The visitors later pushed its advantage to 17-11 on a bucket in transition by Tim Reilly (Poughkeepsie, N.Y.), forcing the Pride into the game's first timeout with 11:46 on the clock.
Nick DeGennaro (Yorktown Heights, N.Y.) drilled a deep three as the shot clock expired to give the Golden Bears a 25-19 edge at 7:56 on the clock, only to have a conventional three-point play by Ross bring the Pride within 27-26 at the 5:22 mark.
Western New England regained a 31-27 lead on a pair of freebies from Pettway, but a three-point play by Post kick started a 16-0 surge over the final 2:56, as the Pride fed off the energy of a pair of breakaway dunks by Ross, to take a 43-34 lead into the half.
The visitors would get within seven in the opening 2:42 of the half, but McNulty found Post for a big slam in traffic and then finished in the lane himself to give Springfield a 53-40 cushion as the Golden Bears called timeout with 15:17 left in regulation. Springfield would let Western New England get no closer than 12, with the Pride putting the game away with a 10-0 burst capped off by a three-point play by Ross, which gave Springfield a 76-54 lead with five minutes remaining. Springfield's largest lead of the game came after a pair of free throws by rookie Charlie Clay (Southborough, Mass.) free throws with 2:03 on the clock and the hosts held on for the 18-point win.
Springfield will continue its three-game homestand to begin the year as it hosts Keene State at 4:30 pm in Blake.