Westfield, Mass. - December 2, 2017 - Sophomore guard Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) registered a career-best 37 points to go along with 16 rebounds as the Springfield College men's basketball team defeated Westfield State, 66-55, on Saturday afternoon at the Woodward Center. With the win, the Pride are off to a 4-0 start for the fourth time in the last seven seasons. With the loss, the Owls are now 5-3 overall.
Springfield College held a 47-37 advantage in rebounds, as the offense was able to find its rhythm in the paint, outscoring the Owls 42-28 down low. As a team, the Pride shot 26-of-59 (44.1%) from the floor, while Westfield State was just 20-for-62 (32.3%) on the afternoon.
Ross finished the afternoon shooting 14-of-20 (70%) from the field, including going 8-for-12 from the free-throw line, as 14 of his 16 rebounds came on the defensive end. This marks the fifth time in just 30 career games that the 6-foot-4 guard has eclipsed 30 points in a single contest. Senior captain Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.l.) also chipped in eight points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) came off the bench and put together a seven-point, five-rebound performance in just 15 minutes of play.
Westfield State was led by Peter Mafo (Lynn, Mass.) and Allister Williams (Boston, Mass.), who had 12 points apiece, while in his first contest against his former team, Anthony Reynolds (Springfield, Mass.) posted nine points and nine rebounds in the setback.
Springfield College jumped out to a 4-0 lead on a lay-up from Ross, followed by a Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) dunk, before a pair of basket from Williams quickly tied it up for the Owls at the 17:18 mark of the opening half. From there, the two sides would trade points until a 10-0 run, capped by a free throw from Witter with 10:08 to play gave the Pride a 18-8 lead. Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) and Ross converted back-to-back baskets to give Springfield College a 22-9 lead with 7:57 to play, before a triple from Williams made it a nine-point game, Owls trailing 26-17, with 1:48 on the clock. The Pride would finish the half on a 6-2 run, sealed on a last-second lay-up from McNulty, sending Springfield College into the halftime break with a 32-19 lead.
A three-point play from Eckles just 2:58 into the second half pushed Springfield College's lead to 17, as the Pride was up 38-21 before a small run from Westfield State made it an 11-point game as Isaiah Headley (Springfield, Mass.) knocked down a three-pointer, making it 38-27, maroon and white, with 14:28 to play. Hanging on to an 11-pont advantage, Ross converted a lay-up with 5:30 on the clock, which was followed by four unanswered points to make it 59-42, Pride, including a free throw from Charlie Clay (Worcester, Mass.) with 4:00 remaining. Ross would seal the game from the free-throw line, as he hit five in the last 2:11 to lead Springfield College to its fourth win of the year.
Springfield College will return to action on Thursday, December 7, as the Pride takes on Trinity College at 7 p.m. in Blake Arena.