Springfield, Mass -- November 29, 2011 --Led by Jordan Rote's second consecutive career-high 23 points, the Springfield College men's basketball team defeated Keene State, 85-79, this evening at Springfield College's Blake Arena. Ryan Coburn added 15 points and a team-high 11 rebounds as SC stretches its season-opening unbeaten streak to five straight.
Springfield improves to 5-0 win the win, while the Owls drop to 4-1. This is the best start to a season at SC for head coach Charlie Brock, who is now in his 14th season, and marks the first time Springfield has started 5-0 since the 1997-1998 campaign when the Pride rattled off nine-straight wins to start the season.
Besides Rote, a senior guard from Sheffield, Mass., and Coburn, a senior center from West Warwick, R.I., two others scored in double figures for the Pride. They included junior guard Alex Berthiaume (Springfield, Mass.) with 12 points, to go along with four assists, four rebounds, and two steals. The other was freshman guard Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) with 11 points and four rebounds to go along with two big three-pointers.
For the Owls, who made a great second-half comeback, senior forward Derek D'Amours (Agawam, Mass.) led with 15 points. He added six rebounds and two assists. Junior forward Nicco DeMasco (Richmond, N.H.) was next with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Junior guard Ryan Martin (Wayne, Maine) and junior forward Eric Fazio (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.) each had 11 points. Fazio added seven rebounds and two steals.
After an Ollie Hunter lay-up evened the score at four-all at the 17:27 mark, Springfield went on a 16-0 run over the next 3:09 to take a commanding 20-4 advantage. The Owls wouldn't go away easily and responded with a 12-2 spurt, highlighted by a pair of dunks by Wright, to make the score 22-16 with 10:43 on the clock.
Over the next four-plus minutes, Springfield's lead would grow back to 16 as it used a 12-2 run of its own to open up a 34-18 advantage. Springfield would eventually take a 42-30 lead into the half as it was able to turn 13 Keene State turnovers into 21 points.
Springfield still maintained a comfortable lead through much of the second half, and was ahead by 13 (70-57) with 7:32 on the clock after a Coburn free throw. But in just a span of one minute and 21 seconds, the Owls went on an 11-0 tear that culminated with a 3-point play by Hunter, a senior forward from Bedford, N.H., making it a 70-68 SC lead.
Springfield never did relinquish the lead, but the margin was anywhere from two to five points until a pair of free throws by Sienkiewicz with 19 seconds left pushed the lead up to seven. Keene State closed it to four with 13 seconds left on a 3-point play by Martin. But two free throws by Rote produced the final six-point margin.
The Pride's tough week of non-conference play continues this weekend as it hosts the Pioneer Valley Classic on Friday and Saturday. On Friday at 5:30 pm, the Pride will clash with Amherst College, who will enter the game ranked third in the country.
Photo by Cindi Williamson of Fat Dog Fotos