Springfield, Mass. - January 2, 2019 - The Springfield College men's basketball team dropped a thrilling 67-64 contest to Babson by virtue of a last-second three-pointer in both teams New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener on Wednesday night in Blake Arena.
The Beavers improved to 8-4, 1-0 in conference play, while the Pride slipped to 3-8, 0-1.
A year removed from winning its first-ever outright NEWMAC regular season championship, Springfield had three players score in double figures in the conference setback. Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.), who was whistled for two offensive fouls in the first 1:37 of the game and played just six minutes in the first half, totaled a team-best 15 points, seven rebounds, and three assists. Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) chipped in 13 points and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) tallied 10 points. Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.) recorded eight points and eight boards off the bench for a Pride team that shot 24-for-63 (38%) and held a 40-33 edge on the glass.
Babson's Jack Coolahan (Newtown, Pa.) netted a game-high 21 points, going 5-of-8 from beyond on the arc, none more important than the game-winner in the final seconds. Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) registered 19 points, seven boards, and four assists for Babson, which shot 27-for-60 (45%) on the night.
Babson jumped out to a 7-2 advantage just 3:04 into the contest after a triple by Julian Alexis (Somerville, N.J.), but Springfield would respond with a 13-6 surge to gain a 15-13 edge following a three in transition by Kendall Baldwin (Springfield, Mass.) at 12:26. Four different players scored in the burst, a story in the first half for the Pride as seven different members of the squad delivered at least two points. Springfield's lead grew to 24-20 when Witter converted inside with 7:07 remaining in the half, only to have Babson use a 9-5 push to even things up at 29-all on a triple by Oftring. Durkin and Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) would trade buckets in the final 1:21 to make it a 31-all game at the half. Springfield dominated the glass in the opening 20 minutes of action, holding a 26-13 edge, bolstered by 10 offensive boards.
Babson raced out of the second half with a 10-4 burst, using a midrange jumper from Alexis to force the Pride into a timeout trailing 41-35 at the 15:18 mark. Out of the break, Post drilled a three and was fouled, finishing off the rare four-point play to kickstart a run of where he would score eight-straight points himself to give the Pride a 43-41 lead as the Beavers whistled for a timeout. Springfield would continue to pour it on, extending the lead to their largest of the evening, 54-44, after Ross cashed in a pair from the charity stripe with 8:43 to play. Babson would not go away, manufacturing a 12-2 surge to even the game at 56-all when Coolahan buried a corner three-pointer with 5:14 on the clock. Ross pulled up from the elbow for a jumper that gave Springfield a 64-61 lead with just over 90 seconds to play, but Jaworski got free for second triple of the game to even things for the final time with 1:02 to play.
Out of a timeout, Springfield got a great look from beyond the arc but was unable to convert and Babson's Matt Pattyson (Doylestown, Pa.) pulled down an important rebound as the visitors called for a timeout. Baldwin was able to come up with a steal with 12 seconds left for Springfield and found Ross in transition, but the junior couldn't finish his contested layup at the rim. Babson's Brandon Johsnon (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) hauled in the board and raced down the court before Oftring found Coolahan in the corner for the game-winning trifecta.
Springfield will continue conference play on Saturday when it travels to face Wheaton for a 1 pm tilt.