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Eastern Connecticut Tops Springfield, 59-46, To Win Hampton Inn/Naismith Classic

2012 Hampton Inn/Naismith Men's Basketball Classic All-Tournament Team Championship Game -- Eastern Conn. 59, Springfield 46
ECSU/Springfield Box Score

Springfield, Mass. - January 1, 2012 - The Eastern Connecticut men's basketball team used a 19-2 run midway through the first half and never looked back as it bested Springfield College, 59-46, in the Hampton Inn-West Springfield/Naismith Classic championship on Sunday afternoon at SC's Blake Arena.

With the win, Eastern is now 8-1, while Springfield falls to 8-4.

Nick Nedwick and Chris Robitaille were the leaders from Eastern's point of view. Nedwick was named the Classic's MVP with 13 points and five rebounds in 31 minutes of action. Robitaille produced 16 points and 11 rebounds in 32 minutes. Also scoring in double figures this afternoon was Jamie Kohn with 10 points and seven rebounds.

For Springfield, which was held to just 46 points overall, the duo of Jordan Rote and Pat Rossi each scored team-highs of 10 points. Josh Altman added seven. Averaging just over 18 points, SC's leading scorer Alex Berthiaume was held without a field goal, scoring just three free throws on the day.

Eastern's solid defensive play took center stage today. It held Springfield to just 16 first-half points on a .231 field goal percentage (6-of-26) in that half. For the game, SC shot just .309 on 17-of-55 from the field. The Pride also made just 2-of-16 three-point attempts for the entire outing.

Meanwhile, Eastern made 22-of-50 for the game (.440) and outrebounded SC, 38-33.

The score was tied at 4-all with 17:30 to go after a Rote lay-up. But after a Nedwick lay-up with 4:46 left, Eastern had run its advantage to 32-10. Nedwick had scored nine of his 13 points by the intermission. Rote had scored six points of his 10 in that stanza.

The Pride had struggled to find any offensive rhythm in that half, committing 10 turnovers. After Rote connected on a baseline jumper with 13:32 on the clock to cut the Warrior lead to five at 13-8, ECSU seized control with a 19-2 run spanning over nine minutes. A pair of free throws from Nick Sienkiewicz with 1:06 on the clock made it an 18-point ball game at the half, 34-16.

SC scored the first five points of the second half, giving the home folks some hope. That made the score 34-21. But Eastern scored the next nine points, lifting the Warriors to a 43-21 margin with 13:26 to go

A lay-up by Rossi with 4:04 left cut the margin to 12, but that was as close as the Pride would manage to come.

Named to the All-Tournament Team were:
Nick Nedwick (MVP) -- Eastern Connecticut
Chris Robitaille -- Eastern Connecticut
Pat Rossi -- Springfield
Jordan Rote -- Springfield
Panagio Koutsoloukas -- Hunter
Marcus Winn -- Univ. of New England

Consolation Game -- Hunter 84, UNE 57

Hunter/UNE Box Score

Springfield, Mass. - January 1, 2012 - The Hunter College men’s basketball team benefited from a 26-point, 13-rebound effort from Panagiotis Koutsoloukas as it toppled the University of New England, 84-57, in the Hampton Inn-West Springfield/Naismith Classic consolation on Sunday afternoon at SC's Blake Arena.

The Hawks improve to 5-6 with the win, while the Nor’easters are in search of their first win and stand at 0-8.

Koutsoloukas had his way in the paint all game as he went 9-of-14 from the field and hit all eight of his free-throws for a game-high 26 points. Teammate Mark Courtien finished with 15 points, connecting on five shots from beyond the arc, go to along with four assists, while Anthony Uter chipped in 10 points in the win.

For the Nor’easters, Marcus Winn once again led the way with 17 points, hitting on five three-pointers in the loss. Charles Fenner III added 12 points off the bench.

Hunter applied early pressure from the opening whistle as it grabbed an early 10-point lead after Uter’s fast break layup made the score 21-11 with 13:29 to play. However, the Nor’easters started to find their rhythm and clawed back to within three thanks to a 9-2 run over a 2:41 span to make it 23-20 following a Fenner three-ball. The Hawks pushed back with a 7-2 spurt of their own and regained an eight-point lead on a Jeffrey Daza fast break layup making it 30-22 at the 7:04 mark. UNE would get within three again after Ryan Knotek converted inside with 2:47 to play, only to have the Hawks close out the final two-plus minutes on a 6-0 run to head into the half up nine, 38-29.

Another triple by Fenner 1:55 into the second half brought New England as close as it would get, trailing by just seven. Over the next 5:05, the Hawks poured on a 17-4 run to take complete control of the game, going up 59-39. Koutsoloukas led the way with seven points in the spurt. The Hawks would go on to lead by as many as 30 in the game as they were able to hold UNE to just 28 points in the second half.

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Charlie Brock Charlie Brock in 2013-14 will enter his 16th season as the head coach at Springfield College and his 34th season as a head coach overall. Brock’s achievements as a coach are certainly impressive. He has taken three schools to the NCAA Division III Tournament and has an overall, 32-year record of 440-397. Read more.

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