Springfield, MA --- Springfield picked up another critical NEWMAC men's basketball victory on Wednesday night in Blake Arena as it pulled away from WPI, 74-67. With the win, Springfield keeps its conference tournament hopes alive as it improved to 10-14, 7-6, while the Engineers drop to 17-7, 8-5.
The Pride were led by the trio of Jake Ross (Northampton, MA), Heath Post (Cheshire, CT), and Cam Earle (South Hadley, MA) who combined for 62 of the hosts 74 points. Ross put together another incredible performance, totaling 30 points, 15 rebounds, and seven assists, including scoring 13 of Springfield's final 16 points. Post totaled 20 points and seven boards and became the 32nd student-athlete in program history to reach the 1,000 career point plateau, and Earle buried four from beyond the arc for a 12-point outing. The Pride owned a 43-34 edge on the glass and turned 13 offensive boards in 12 second-chance points.
Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) came off the bench to net 20 points in the setback for WPI, while Reid Walker (Lithia, FL) produced 12 points and eight boards. The Engineers held a 34-22 advantage in points in the paint and had its bench outscore the Pride, 27-8.
Earle drilled a contested three from the corner at the 12:48 mark to give the Pride an early 11-9 lead, but the two squads would go back and forth in a frame where they would be tied five times in the opening 9:36 of the contest. After a midrange jumper from Ross put the hosts ahead 18-16 with 9:44 left on the clock, Jake Needleman (Morganville, NJ) heated up from long range and buried three triples in a 2:56 span to key a 15-2 surge that allowed WPI to own a 31-20 cushion. However, Springfield would not go quietly, as an inside finish by Ross the next time down the court kickstarted a 12-4 burst to close the half, and Collin Lindsay (East Longmeadow, MA) knocked down a trifecta in the final minute to send Springfield into the break trailing, 35-32.
A jumper from Walker gave WPI a 39-34 lead just over a minute into the second half, but 7-2 burst that was started by a three from Earle knotted the game at 41 with 17:24 to play. Kevin Durkin (Worcester, MA) would hammer a dunk along the baseline to put the Pride on top, 45-44, with 11:59 on the clock, but the visitors would use a 7-2 run of their own to force Springfield into a timeout trailing 51-47 after a putback by Ethan Harrell (Wexford, PA). Springfield would regain a 58-56 when Daryl Costa (Providence, RI) converted an acrobatic three-point play, only to have Downing pull up for a three-pointer on the next possession with 4:31 remaining in regulation to push the visitors back ahead for the last time.
Over the next 3:47, Ross would simply take over the game as he scored 11-straight points for Springfield, before assisting on a Lindsay bucket in transition with 31 seconds left as Springfield's lead grew to 71-65. The junior would grab all five of the Pride's rebounds in the final 4:31 and ice the game with two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to lift the Pride to the seven-point conference win.
WPI hosts MIT at 1pm and Springfield travels to face Babson for a 2pm tilt on the final day of the regular season.
Release Courtesy Springfield Sports Information