North Dartmouth, Mass. - November 20, 2009 - Despite 12 points, eight rebounds, and seven blocks from sophomore Ryan Coburn, the Springfield College men's basketball team could not rally to victory as it dropped a 61-56 decision to Wheelock in the opening game of the UMass-Dartmouth Invitational on Friday evening.
In the first game of the 2009 Hampton Inn Classic at the Tripp Athletic Center Friday evening, the Wildcats used an 18-4 run in the second half to break a 31-31 tie, then held off a late game surge by the Pride to earn a spot in the championship game.
Wheelock jumped out to a 26-16 lead late in the first half on a lay up by sophomore guard Kyle Pierce but Springfield closed out the half on a 8-0 run off three pointers by junior forward Matt Cavalieri and senior forward Pat Crean and a lay up by Crean to cut the gap to 26-24 at intermission.
Crean finished the half with all 14 of his points while sophomore center Eric Rice led the Wildcats with 9 points.
Springfield senior guard Ryan Blackmon tied the game at 31 with 16:04 to go in the second half but that was as close as the Pride would get as Rice scored 8 of his game-high 20 points during the Wildcats 18-4 run that included a deep three pointer from the top of the key. Springfield made one last run with just under three minutes left in the contest as three pointers by Cavalieri and freshman guard Matt Pascuzzo cut the deficit to five but it was a little too late.
Rice had a game-high 10 rebounds to go with his game-high 20 points and was joined in double figures by Wheelock senior forward Sherard Robbins who chipped in with 12 points and 7 rebounds.
Springfield had three players in double-figures led by Crean and Cavalieri who had 14 points apiece and Coburn, who had a great all-around performance with 12 points, 8 rebounds and 7 blocked shots.
The Wildcats improved to 2-0 with the victory, while the Pride dropped to 1-2 with the defeat. Wheelock will play the winner of tonight’s second game for the tournament championship Saturday afternoon. Springfield will play the loser of the second game for third place on Saturday.