Worcester, Mass. - February 19, 2014 - Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) and Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) were both impressive for the second-straight game, leading the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 76-64 win over host Clark University on Wednesday.
The Pride improves to 18-6 overall and 9-4 in the New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) with the win while Clark drops to 12-12 on the season and 3-10 in conference play.
Burke posted a game-high 21 points, plus five rebounds and three assists. Sienkiewicz was an impressive 4-for-6 from the three-point line, finishing with 18 points for the Pride. The junior also had three boards and three helpers. Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) had a big game for Springfield with 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) led the Pride with a game-high 10 rebounds. He also tallied eight points.
Larry Piretra (Oakland, N.J.) and Nick McKenna (Danvers, Mass.) were both big off the bench for Springfield. Piretra finished with seven points and six boards while McKenna added six points.
Springfield shot a sizzling 57 percent in the second half to break open a close game. The win is the Pride's fourth in the last five games.
With the score 34-33 in favor of the visitors to start the second half, there were four lead changes in the first two minutes of the period until Springfield went on a 13-2 run that featured four points from both Swenson and Burke, a three-pointer from Sienkiewicz and a hoop from Martin. When the dust cleared, the Pride were ahead for good at 51-39.
The Cougars mounted a rally with back-to-back hoops from David Mercier (Milford, Mass.) and Andrew Musler (Belmont, Mass.) and a three-pointer from Jake Gubitose (Fiskdale, Mass.) to cut the lead to 51-46 with a little more than ten minutes left.
Springfield surged ahead again as Burke scored six straight points but the Cougars wouldn’t go away and when Conor Dow (Needham, Mass.) dropped in a top-of-the-key three, Clark was still within striking distance at 59-52 with a little less than seven minutes to play.
The momentum for the Scarlet and White was short lived however, as the Pride put the game away with a 9-0 burst highlighted by a Martin steal and finish that made the score 68-52.
Springfield handed out 19 assists on their 29 baskets, shot 49 percent from the field, including 7-for-14 from behind the arc and turned Clark’s 14 turnovers into 19 points.
Clark, meanwhile shot 40 percent from the field and uncharacteristically just 57 percent from the charity stripe. They did hold a slim 40-39 edge on the glass and get 22 points from its reserves.
The Cougars were led by Musler, who collected his tenth double-double of the season with 17 points and ten rebounds. Mercier was the only other Cougar in double-figures, ending with 11 points and a career-best four assists.
Clark will close out its season on Saturday with a home contest against WPI, while the Pride plays host to Coast Guard at 3:00 p.m.