Springfield, Mass. - December 1, 2012 - The Springfield College men's basketball had four starters score in double figures as it held off cross-town rival Western New England for a 73-71 non-conference victory on Tuesday night.
Springfield, which was receiving votes once again in this week's D3Hoops.com National poll, is now 6-1 on the season. The Golden Bears had won its previous two games heading into the contest and now drops to 2-4.
Alex Berthiaume led the team in scoring for the seventh-straight game as he netted 19 points on 8-of-16 shooting. Jordan Rote added 17 points, four steals, and four assists, while Robbie Burke produced 16 points and a team-best eight caroms. Pat Rossi chipped in 10 points and Sean Martin delivered a career-best nine assists.
Despite shooting shooting over 50% for the game (27-for-53), the Pride continued to struggle from the charity stripe, hitting just 15 of 28 attempts.
Damon Alston led all scoreres with 24 points, connecting on five three-pointers in the loss. Kevin Wilkes added eight points and eight boards, while Dennis Rinaldi totaled eight points and seven rebounds.
The Pride owned a seven point lead at halftime after it shot 50% from the floor in the opening 20 minutes, connecting on 15 of its 30 shots.
Springfield opened the second half on an 8-2 run, extending their lead to thirteen before a Western New England timeout at 17:54 following a Rossi inside bucket. The lead would grow to as many as 15, as Rote canned a triple to put the Pride up 56-41 with 13:28 left in regulation.
The Golden Bears would not go away, answering with a 14-1 run, cutting the lead to 57-55 after Nick DeFeo buried a jumper. Springfield responded with an 8-3 push, with Rossi once again converting down low to give the Pride a 65-58 lead at the 5:39 mark.
The final minutes proved to be a thrilling finish, as Kevin Wilkes made it a two-point game with 11 seconds left. Rossi could have sealed the game, but missed a pair from the free throw line to give the hosts a final chance. The senior made up for it, blocking a Wilkes shot with three seconds left before snagging the rebound on Wilkes put back attempt.
The Pride will play its home opener on Thursday evening when it battles Trinity at 7:00 pm.