Men’s Basketball Drops Decision to Springfield in Matchup of NEWMAC Co-Leaders

Colin McNamara

Springfield, MA --- A battle between the NEWMAC leaders finished in favor of Springfield on Wednesday night as the Pride edged WPI 84-66 thanks to a game-high 20 points from Jake Ross (Northampton, MA). The two teams each entered the game with 14-3 overall records, and both were 5-1 in conference play. 

Springfield was able to earn the victory thanks in part to 13-of-22 (.591) shooting from behind the arc, while holding WPI to just seven threes in the contest. The Pride's Robert Baum (W. Springfield, MA) finished with four treys. 

Three WPI players finished in double figures led by Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) with 13 points and a perfect 7-for-7 effort from the free throw line, while Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) and John Lowther (Hingham, MA) each added 12 points.  Ethan Harrell (Wexford, PA) gobbled a team-best eight rebounds to go along with eight points off the bench.

The loss drops WPI to second in the NEWMAC standings.  The Engineers, who are receiving votes (42) in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 are now 14-4 overall and 5-2 in conference action. Springfield, who is also receiving votes (47) remains atop the standings and improves to 15-3 on the season and 6-1 in NEWMAC play.

Ross led Springfield with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Baum added 15 points, Daryl Costa (Providence, RI) netted 13 and Collin Lindsay (E. Longmeadow, MA) finished with 10 points.

WPI shot just 36.1 (22-of-61) from the field on the night compared to Springfield's 50.0 percent clip (27-of-54) though the Engineers out rebounded the Pride 38-33.

The first 10 minutes of action saw a lot of back-and-forth play including four treys traded in ensuing possessions. Downing dropped one down as WPI took a 26-25 advantage with eight minutes to go in the first half, ultimately the final lead of the game for the Crimson and Gray.

Following Downing's trey, Springfield rallied off six-straight points, started by a free throw and capped by a fast break layup to gain a 31-26 lead and give Springfield a buffer that would turn into a 45-37 halftime advantage. 

That eight-point lead would extend to 17 points following a Ross layup six-and-a-half minutes into the second half, but WPI answered with back-to-back shots. Ultimately the Pride would gain as much as an 18-point advantage in the victory. 

Following five-straight conference road games, WPI returns home Saturday to kick off the month of February against Wheaton at 3pm. Springfield heads out on the road to take on Clark Saturday at 1pm.