Cambridge, Mass. - January 4, 2012 - The Springfield College men's basketball put forth a gritty effort but fell to MIT, the fourth-ranked team in the country, 67-59, in both teams New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener on Wednesday evening.
Springfield has now dropped its last two games to fall to 8-5, 0-1 in league play. The Engineers kept their record perfect on the year and now stand at 13-0, 1-0.
Alex Berthiaume scored a team-best 16 points on 7-of-12 shooting to go along with a game-high five assists. Both Jordan Rote and Nick Sienkiewicz added nine points each, while Ryan Coburn chipped in with eight points and five boards.
Will Tashman paced MIT with 18 points and six boards, while Noel Hollingsworth produced 14 points and seven points. The Engineers had a third player score in double figures as Jamie Karraker totaled 11 points in the win.
The Pride couldn't have asked for a better start as it led 8-2 just over six minutes into the game after Berthiaume drilled a trifecta. Springfield maintained its lead midway through the first half, owning a 19-14 advantage following a three-ball from Rote.
However, over the next four minutes, MIT poured on a 14-5 run to snag a three-point lead as Daniel McCue connected from downtown. The Engineers slowly found their rhythm and used a jumper from Hollingsworth at the buzzer to go into the half up 37-31.
After falling behind by seven following a Karraker three-pointer with 14:43 left, Springfield showed plenty of toughness as it roared back to take the lead. Thanks to a 12-3 run over a 6:33 span, capped off by an Evan Christner layup, Springfield owned a 51-49 lead with just over eight minutes left in regulation.
MIT answered back with inside buckets from Hollingsworth and Tashman to regain a lead it would not relinquish again. The Pride would get as close as one on a pair of occasions, the last coming on a lay-in by Sean Martin with 3:38 on the clock to make the score 56-55.
Hollingsworth put back his own miss at the 3:07 mark, before Billy Bender buried a three with under a minute to go to give MIT some breathing room up 61-55. The Engineers went on to hit 6-of-8 from the charity stripe in the final 29 seconds to hold on for the eight-point win.
The Pride will continue conference play on Saturday afternoon when it travels to take on Coast Guard at 1:00 pm.
Photo by Cindi Williamson of FatDog Fotos