Springfield, Mass. -- January 1, 2011 -- The Springfield College men's basketball team, down by four points at the half, came back to defeat Roger Williams University, 75-66, in the first game of the 24th Annual Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic that is being held at SC's Blake Arena. Winners of seven of its last eight, the Pride was led tonight by Matt Cavalieri's 15 points and 14 rebounds. In the second game, Rutgers-Newark defeated Bates, 76-68. It will be Springfield versus Rutgers-Newark Sunday at 3 pm in the championship game.
With the win in game #1, Springfield is now 7-4, while Roger Williams falls to 6-4. With the win in game #2, Rutgers-Newark is now 11-1, while Bates falls to 7-3. Springfield will play Rutgers-Newark tomorrow at 3 pm in the championship game. The consolation game will feature Bates and Roger Williams at 1 pm.
For the homestanding Pride in the first game tonight, senior forward Matt Cavalieri (West Warwick, R.I.) was tops with 15 points and 14 rebounds. He had 10 points and nine boards at the half. Junior forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) was next with 14 points, shooting 6-for-10 from the floor. Junior center Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, R.I.) followed with 12 points, three rebounds, and two blocks. Senior guard Billy Harkins (Bellmore, N.Y.) was next with nine points, all in the second half. He also finished with a team-high six assists.
The visiting Hawks were led by 6-9 junior center Pat Flanagan (Somerville, Mass.) with 22 points and five rebounds. He had 16 of those points in the first half when he was 8-for-9 from the free throw line. Sophomore guard Matt Grossbard (Pearl River, N.Y.) was next with 11 points, along with senior forward Taylor Petruccelli (Stratford, Conn.).
In the first half, the lead changed hands nine times, while the score was tied three times. Down 22-21, RWU ran off eight straight points to take a 29-22 lead, its largest of the game, with 3:39 left. SC finished with a 7-4 run to end the stanza.
When Petruccelli made a conventional three-point play with 15:18 remaining, the RWU lead had grown to five, 38-33. That was the high-water mark for the Hawks, however, in the second half.
Over the next 7:08, Springfield went on a decisive 17-2 run. It was a lay-up by junior guard Pat Sturdahl (Exeter, R.I.) with 13:11 remaining that gave SC the lead for good at 39-38. It was another lay-up by Sturdahl with 8:10 remaining that gave SC a 50-40 advantage.
In the last several minutes, it became more of a free-throw shooting contest as the Hawks kept putting the Pride on the line. A free throw by Harkins with 1:30 left gave SC its largest lead at 66-52. With 23 seconds left, the Hawks had cut it to seven (72-65) on a three-pointer by Grossbard, but that was as close as RWU would come.
Springfield outrebounded RWU, 36-30. The Pride finished with just nine turnovers, while the Hawks committed 16. Each team shot just above 41% from the floor -- SC at .418, RWU at .412.
Rutgers Newark 76, Bates 68
Rutgers Newark/Bates Box Score
In tonight's second game, the Scarlet Raiders of Rutgers-Newark University defeated the Bobcats of Bates College, 76-68, in a game that appeared to be a blowout well into the second half, but which turned into a nailbiter by the last minute of play.
With the win, Rutgers-Newark is now 11-1, starting a new winning streak after opening the year with 10 straight victories. Bates is now 7-3.
The Scarlet Raiders were led by four players who scored in double figures. They were junior guard Pedro Burgos (Fort Lee, N.J.) with 25 points, junior guard Jeremiah Rivers (Newark, N.J.) with 17, junior guard Greg Moore (Jersey City, N.J.) with 16, and sophomore guard Al'Don Muhammad (Irvington, N.J.) with 14. Burgos was 8-of-12 from the field, 3-of-6 from 3-point range, and 6-of-8 from the charity stripe.
For Bates, two players scored in double figures. They were senior forward Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) with 25, and senior forward Nick Schmiemann (Weymouth, Mass.) with 13. Ellis was 9-of-16 from the field, and 6-of-7 from the free throw line.
Rutgers-Newark shot pretty well overall, going 27-of-50 from the floor (.540). The team shot extremely well in the second half (.619) on 13-of-21 from the field. Bates cooled off after a hot-shooting first half (.565). Overall, the Bobcats shot .459 on 28-of-61 from the field. For Bates, a 3-for-16 performance from 3-point range (.188) did not help matters.
Rutgers-Newark led 38-31 at the half. It had led by as many as 10 points twice in that half.
In the second half, Rutgers-Newark mushroomed the lead to as many as 19 points twice, the second time at 66-47 with 5:53 left on a jumper by sophomore guard Tyler Jones (Montclair, N.J.).
But three times in the last 1:13, Bates closed the gap to as few as five points. It was 69-64 with 1:13 left, 71-66 with 46 seconds left, and 73-68 with 18 seconds left on a jumper by Schmiemann. Down by five, the Bobcats' sophomore guard Mark Brust ((Duxbury, Mass.) attempted a 3-pointer with 34 seconds that could have cut the margin to two.
On Sunday, Rutgers-Newark will take on host Springfield at 3 pm in the championship game. The consolation game will feature Bates and Roger Williams at 1 pm.