Springfield, Mass. - March 20, 2018 - Following a historic postseason run, the Springfield College men's basketball team concluded the 2017-18 season ranked fourth in the nation according to the D3hoops.com National Poll.
It marks the highest-ever Division III ranking in program history as the Pride put together a remarkable postseasonpush to advance to the NCAA Division III Championship Final Four. After an outstanding regular season in which the Pride captured its first-ever outright New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) regular-season title and totaled the most NEWMAC wins in program history, Springfeild received one of 21 at-large bids in to the national tournament. From there, head coach Charlie Brock led his team to four postseason wins, including three over nationally-ranked teams, to reach the Final Four.
The Pride started off its postseason run with a 88-86 win over Albright in the opening round on March 2, marking first win in the NCAA Tournament for the program since 2005. Totaling 21 assists on the night, the Pride was sensational from beyond the arc, connecting on 13-of-23, nailing 8-of-11 in the second half, while Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) produced 24 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists. Springfield followed with a 96-88 triumph over No. 22 Cabrini to punch its second trip to the Sweet 16 in Division III program history. Springfield's outside shooting was the difference in the game as the Pride tied a program record with 16 three-point field goals after going 16-of-26 from downtown, with Ross pouring in a game-high 31 points on just 8-of-11 shooting, to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals.
The next weekend, Springfield pulled off a thrilling come-from-behind victory in overtime against No. 13 Hamilton, 92-90, as Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) canned a 35-foot three at the buzzer in regulation to force overtime. Advancing to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history, Ross continued to shine for the Pride as he totaled 36 points, nine assists, six rebounds, and four steals as Springfield finished the game shooting 33-for-66 (50%). With a spot in the NCAA Final Four on the line, the Pride downed No. 14 Swarthmore, 74-62, as it put together a dominant second half to prevail. Springfield limited the hosts to just 22 second-half points and finished the game with a 39-33 edge on the boards against a team that owned a plus-10 rebound advantage on its opponents all season. Ross scored 23 points to go along with 12 boards, while classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) was sensational with 18 points and 15 boards.
The Pride's magical run came to a close in Virginia at the Salem Civic Center in front of nearly 2,000 fans as Nebraska Wesleyan held on for a 90-78 overtime victory to finish the season with a 22-9 record. The Pride set a NCAA Division III Championship game and program record for most three-pointers taken in the contest as Springfield hoisted 41 in the game while facing the Prairie Wolves 3-2 zone defense. The Pride was able to can 15 of its attempts, one off both the program record and NCAA Division III Championship record for made three-pointers in a contest, as Ross paced Springfield with 21 points, nine rebounds, seven assists, and two steals.
Of the 416 NCAA Division III men's basketball programs, Springfield ranked 26th in three-point field goals made (281), 28th in total assists (481), and 31st in total rebounds (1,157). Individually, Ross played the most minutes of any player at the Division III level (1092:00) and attempted the most field goals (553), and concluded the year with the second-most made field goals (274) and total points (768) among the 5,000-plus Division III student-athletes who play men's basketball, while also ranking seventh in double doubles (17), 10th in total rebounds (303), 11th in free throws made (157), and 13th in steals (72).