Springfield, Mass. - November 15, 2016 - The Springfield College men's basketball team opened up the 2016 campaign with an 80-69 win at cross-town rival Western New England on Tuesday evening.
First-year Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) was sensational in his collegiate debut as he poured in a game-high 29 points to go along with 11 boards and three blocks. Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) also had a strong first college contest, tallying 13 points and five caroms, while returning guards Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) and Stanley Davis (Boston, Mass.) combined for 20 points in the victory.
Springfield went 28-for-55 from the field, connecting on nearly 51% of its shots and got to the free-throw line early and often, going 24-for-35.
The host Golden Bears opened up a 17-10 cushion at the 12:47 mark of the first half, only to have the Pride use a 10-4 surge over the next 3:35 to close within 21-20 following a pair of freebies from Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.). Springfield would take its first lead since the 16:45 mark when Post knocked down a turnaround elbow jumper, and the Pride closed out the half on an 8-2 burst to take a 37-30 advantage into the break. Ross led all players with 15 points in the opening 20 minutes of play.
A pair of Ross inside buckets sandwiched two Post free throws in the opening 1:24 of the second half as the Pride's lead ballooned to 43-30. However, WNE would close within two on five different occasions, the last coming at with 7:12 left with the score 56-54 in favor of the Pride. Over the next four-plus minutes, Springfield put the game away, using a 17-4 run that featured 10 points from the freshman trio of Ross, Post, and Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.). The visitors went on to lead by as many as 15 after a pair from the charity stripe by Ross with under a minute to play as the Pride earned the 11-point non-conference victory.
Springfield will compete in the Bridgewater State Tip-Off Classic, beginning on Friday when it takes on Dean at 7:30 p.m.