Keene, N.H. - November 27, 2012 - The Springfield College men's basketball team buckled down on defense in the second half and held on for a 75-72 win at Keene State on Tuesday evening.
Springfield, which was receiving votes in the latest D3Hoops.com National Poll, improves to 4-0 on the season. The Owls, which was also receiving votes in the national poll, dropped to 2-2.
Alex Berthiaume led all scorers with 21 points on 9-of-18 shooting. Sean Martin finished the evening with a career-high 14 points, connecting on all five of his field goal attempts while recording five steals and handing out three assists. Jordan Rote chipped in 12 points and Pat Rossi registered 10 points. Robbie Burke had a team-best seven rebounds and added nine points.
Eric Fazio had 16 points for the Owls, while Ryan Martin scored 15 points and Anthony Mariano had 11 points. Rashad Wright pulled down a season high 15 rebounds to go with nine points and three blocks.
The Pride finished the evening shooting 28-for-64 (43.8%), including a 14-for-31 (54.8%) showing in the second half. After allowing Keene State to shoot 13-for-27 (48.1%) in the first half, the Pride's zone defense shut down the host Owls, limiting them to a 9-for-30 (30%) performance in the final 20 minutes.
After trailing by eight at the half, Springfield used a 14-4 run over a 5:39 span to start the second half to gain a 48-46 lead. It proved to be the Pride's first advantage since the 7:19 mark of the opening stanza.
The Owls responded with a pair of triples in a 40-second span to take a 59-56 lead, only to have Josh Altman answer back with a big trifecta of his own to knot the game at 59.
The game went back and forth in the final minutes of play, as Springfield trailed by one with 2:08 on the clock, before Rote buried a three ball to put Springfield up 68-66. Wright scored on a tip-in on Keene State's next trip down the lane to tie the game for the 15th and final time.
Burke was fouled on an offensive rebound on the ensuing possession, and knocked down a pair of free throws to put Springfield up for good at the 1:03 mark. The Pride sealed the game by hitting five of its final six free throws, three of which came from Rote.
Springfield will next play in the Pioneer Valley Classic this weekend at Westfield State. The Pride will open the Classic on Friday against host Westfield at 8:00 pm before squaring off with Amherst on Saturday at 6:00 pm.