Springfield, Mass. -- January 23, 2010 -- Jeffrey Robinson scored a career-high 35 points to lead his WPI men's basketball team to a hard-fought 86-68 victory over Springfield College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game this afternoon at SC's Blake Arena.
With the win, WPI is now 14-3 overall, and 3-2 in the NEWMAC. Springfield falls to 7-10 overall, and 3-2 in league play.
Also scoring in double figures for the Engineers was junior guard Kyle Nadeau (Webster, Mass.) with 17 points. Nadeau also had five assists and five rebounds, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor, before fouling out.
Robinson, a junior from Granby, Conn., meanwhile, had a career-game. Besides the 35 points, he also had three assists and one steal. The 6-1 guard made 10-of-15 from the floor, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range, and a perfect 12-of-12 from the free throw line. The 35 points eclipsed his previous best of 32 versus Gwynedd Mercy earlier this season (Dec. 11).
As for the Pride, four players scored in double figures, including senior forward Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) with 22, sophomore forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) with a career-high 15, junior guard Darvis Rankins (Boston, Mass.) with 14 (including 10 in the first half), and junior forward Matt Cavalieri (West Warwick, R.I.) with 12.
It was a game in which WPI never trailed. Nadeau opened the scoring with a jumper, followed by two free throws by Robinson, then another good jumper by Nadeau -- and WPI led 6-0 just 2:23 into the contest. And the Engineers kept it up, leading by as many as 18 at 27-9 with 8:54 left in the first half after a Robinson lay-up.
A key moment in the first half came with 10:01 left when Springfield sophomore center Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, R.I.) committed his third foul, and was also then assessed a technical, which saddled him with his fourth personal. Coburn, a chief cog in the SC machine, scored just two points in six minutes of action before fouling out in the second half.
Springfield did not give up, however, cutting the margin to five points (29-24) on a free throw by Christner with 4:42 left. And SC had three more chances to cut it to either two or three points. But WPI finished the half with an 11-5 run, and it was 40-29 at the intermission.
In the first 4:27 of the second half, the Engineers outscored the Pride, 14-5, and suddenly WPI had its largest lead at 54-34 on a 3-pointer by Robinson. But in the next five minutes, SC went on an 11-0 run to make it interesting again. With 8:16 to go, two Cavalieri free throws made it 56-47. WPI would get it back to 18 points at 73-55 with 5:27 left. Springfield cut it back to 10 at 78-68 with 2:02 remaining. WPI then scored the game's last eight points.
WPI shot .519 from the floor (28-of-54), while Springfield shot just .333 (21-of-63). WPI made six 3-pointers to SC's one. WPI outrebounded the Pride, 45-33. The most startling stat of the game was the 59 fouls combined (31 by Springfield, 28 by WPI). WPI made 24-of-32 free throws (.750), while Springfield had a tougher time from the line, making 25-of-39 (.641).
Springfield returns to action on Wednesday evening when it hosts Clark in a key conference matchup. Tip off is slated for 7:00 pm. WPI will travel to Babson, also for a 7:00 pm start.