Worcester, Mass. - February 15, 2012 - Alex Berthiaume poured in a career-best 34 points, however, the Springfield College men's basketball team fell victim to a buzzer-beater in double overtime as it dropped an 81-79 decision to Clark University in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash.
This marks the first time that Springfield has played a double overtime game since it defeated Clark, 90-87, thanks to a 60-foot buzzer beater from Jamaal Gibbs, on Feb. 9, 2008.
The Pride dropped to 15-9, 6-5 in conference play.
Travis Curley hit a pair of buzzer-beating shots – his second over a pair of defenders as time expired to lift Clark for the thrilling win.
Curley's game–winning shot came after Berthiaume tied the game at 79-79 with his fourth three-pointer of the game with 14 seconds left.
The game seemed destined for a third extra frame as Drew Billington dribbled down the clock. He eventually found Curley who made a move by a defender and pulled up from about 18-feet and with a pair of hands in his face and dropped in a line drive jumper as time expired to give Clark the win.
The shot not only gave the Cougars the win but kept their postseason hopes alive. At 12-12 overall and 4-7 in conference play, Clark now needs to defeat WPI on Saturday and have Springfield knock off Wheaton to gain the fifth and final spot in the upcoming league tournament. With a 15-9, 6-5 record, Springfield has secured the third seed in the league's tournament.
Clark looked to be in control of the game when they held a 57-52 lead following a pair of free throws by Jake Gubitose with 19 seconds left. Berthiaume, however, drained a quick three-pointer and after two more Gubitose freebies, Sean Martin answered back with an easy two.
Billington then split a pair from the free throw line with nine seconds left to make the score 60-57. Jordan Rote then sent the game into the first overtime with his bomb from behind the arc with three seconds left.
Things swung in Springfield's favor in the first extra session as they held a four-point lead with 35 seconds to go following a Berthiaume high floating finish at the rim.
Billington then raced down the court and handed the ball off to Curley who nailed a three-pointer from 24 feet out, making the score 67-66. Berthiaume calmly sank a pair of free throws giving the Pride a three-point advantage with five second left.
Clark inbounded the ball into John Karas who sent a pass up the left sideline where he found Curley. The senior launched a three-pointer from in front of his own bench that tied the game with 0.6 seconds left, forcing a second overtime.
The Cougars actually never trailed in the second extra period, leading by as many as four (73-69) following a pair of Curley free throws
Rote connected on a triple to close the gap, but Curley answered again, this time with a step-back fall-away jumper that found nothing but the bottom of the net, giving Clark a 75-72 edge.
The Cougars held a 79-76 lead with 20 seconds left after Billington made two from the charity stripe, but Berthiaume knotted the score at 79, setting up Curley's heroics.
In a game that featured seven ties and seven lead changes, neither team had a double digit lead at any point in the game.
Clark connected on a season-high 12 three-pointers and shot 41 percent from the field for the game, while the Pride made nine triples and connected on 38 percent of their attempts.
Springfield held a sizable edge on the glass, 58-41, including a 24-9 edge in offensive rebounds.
Curley finished with 26 points on 9-for-18 shooting in 42 minutes of action. In all, six different players played 40 minutes or more, led by Berthiaume's 45 minutes. He finished with a career- high 34 points on 11-for-31 shooting, while Rote added 16 points and eight rebounds. Pat Rossi totaled nine points and a game-high 16 rebounds for Springfield, who also got seven points, eight rebounds and six assists from Martin.
Billington registered 16 points and eight assists, while D.J. Bailey chipped in with 12 points, four rebounds and five blocks.
Springfield will conclude its regular season on Saturday afternoon when it hosts Wheaton in another critical conference game beginning at 1:00 pm.