Ashland, Va. – March 7, 2014 - The Springfield College men's basketball team was in striking distance for most of the game, but the Pride fell to the University of Mary Washington, 78-58 on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Championship tournament at Randolph Macon College.
Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) put in a solid performance to lead the Pride, scoring a team-high 16 points. He also dished out nine assists. Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) posted 12 points plus four boards while Nick McKenna (Danvers, Mass.) added eight points off the bench. In his final game for the Pride, Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) tallied seven points and five rebounds.
Springfield concludes a stellar season with a 20-8 record while Mary Washington advances to the second round of the tournament and improves to 23-5.
Mary Washington had three players score in double-digit figures, led by their sharp-shooting guard Bradley Riester (Richmond, Va.), who led all scorers with 22 points. The senior was unstoppable from the three-point line, going 6-of-8. Riester ranks second in the nation in three point baskets.
The game was back-and-forth in the first half as the lead changed four times.
Mary Washington opened the game with seven unanswered points, before Sienkiewicz got the Pride on the board at the 17:36 mark. Springfield battled back, taking its first lead of the game (10-9) on free throws from Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) with 13:54 on the clock.
McKenna knocked down his first three-pointer of the game to give Springfield a 13-11 lead, but the Eagles put together a 17-0 run to pull ahead 28-13 with 6:04 to go in the half. The stretch lasted 6:21 and included four three-pointers by Riester.
Sienkiewicz ended the drought for the Pride on a three-pointer from the left side to make it a 30-16 game. Martin hit a three of his own to make it a 30-19 game with 3:32 to play, then found Sienkiewicz under the hoop to make it a 10-point game, 32-22 with 2:16 to play.
Martin made it a single-digit game, laying it in off a pass from Kilday. That basket was part of a 6-0 run for the Pride, capped by a second chance basket from Piretra to make it 35-28 with 18 seconds left in the half. Mary Washington took a 37-28 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Pride had seven assists on 10 baskets in the first half. Springfield finished with 12 assists.
In the second half, Burke knocked down a three-pointer to make it a 40-33 game with 18:20 left to play, but Mary Washington was unstoppable from the perimeter, hitting their seventh of the game to go up 46-33 with 16:02 to play.
Martin brought the Pride back within 10 on a nice drive to the basket, making the basket and the free throw for a 46-36 game with 15:30 on the clock. McKenna knocked down his second three-pointer of the game to make it a 46-39 game with 14:20 left.
Martin got the Pride within five points, the closest they would come, on a drive to the hoop with 13:15 to go. Mary Washington led 46-41. The Eagles three-point shot was too much to handle, as they hit their ninth of the game to push the lead to 49-41.
Swenson came up with a big block on Riester and scored on the other end to make it a seven-point game (57-50) with 5:53 left, but Mary Washington pulled away down the stretch to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament.