Springfield, Mass. - November 29, 2016 - Playing in its home opener, the Springfield College men's basketball team was edged by SUNY New Paltz, 64-63, on Tuesday evening in Blake Arena.
The Pride dropped its third-straight contest to fall to 2-3 on the season, while the Hawks picked up their first win to move to 1-4.
Freshman guard Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) was sensational in his first collegiate home game, pouring in a game-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting to go along with 10 boards and four assists. Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) added 12 points, while Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) combined for 19 rebounds. Springfield shot 48.9% from the floor for the night (23-47) and owned a 40-29 edge on the glass, but was daunted by 19 turnovers which resulted in 20 points for the visitors.
The Hawks Andrew Seniuk tallied a team-best 19 points, while Nick Paquette added 15 points thanks to four three-pointers. Cory Garcia handed out a game-best eight assists in the win.
New Paltz opened up a 7-4 lead to begin the game after a straightway triple from Paquette at the 16-minute mark, only to have the Pride answer back with eight-straight points to gain a five-point cushion with 12:14 on the clock following a trifecta from Keegan McDonough (Bath, Maine). Ross later buried his bid from beyond the arc with just under seven minutes left to give Springfield a 20-14 edge. The visitors would close within three on three occassions, the last coming on a bucket by Paquette in the final seconds as the Pride went into the locker room with a 29-26 edge.
New Paltz put together a 13-3 surge to open up the second half, earning a 39-32 lead on a Paquette deep three as the Pride burned an early timeout. Springfield would methodically chip away at the deficit behind the standout play from Ross as he accounted for nine points and a pair of assists, and eventually tok a 48-46 lead off his backdoor bucket with 11:11 to go.
With just over four minutes remaining and trailing by two, the visitors benefitted from an intentional foul call, and delivered four points off two freebies from Seniuk and an acrobatic lay-in by Dylan Balducci to take a 60-58 lead. McNulty would later elevate over his man late in the shot clock for a three-point to give the hosts a 63-62 lead at the 1:42 mark, but Springfield came up empty on consecutive offensive possessions to set up New Paltz's late heroics. Coming out of a timeout, the Hawks went the length of the court and Seniuk drilled a jumper in the paint with 2.2 seconds left for the game-winner.
Springfield will play at home again on Saturday when it hosts local-foe Westfield State at 2 p.m.