Springfield, Mass. - February 11, 2010 - Matt Cavalieri poured in a career-high 31 points, including a three to send it to overtime and a 12-foot jumper to win it, as the Springfield College men's basketball team battled past cross-town rival Western New England, 79-77, in overtime on Thursday night. Ryan Coburn recorded a triple double with 17 points, 11 blocks, and 10 rebounds for the Pride.
Both teams end the contest with identical 12-10 records. Springfield has now five games in a row and 10 of its last 12 contests.
In an exciting game that featured 16 ties and 12 lead changes, Cavalieri was tremendous as he came up clutch time and time again, while Coburn achieved a feat not often seen in Springfield's long and storied history. It is believed to be Springfield College's first triple-double in 20 years, as the last came when Ramses Kelly was credited with a triple-double on February 27, 1990 at Stonehill back when SC was still playing in Division II and the Northeast-10. Kelly, who routinely threatened triple doubles in the late '80's and early 90's, had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in that game.
After Billy Harkins stole the ball and called timeout with 11 seconds remaining in the overtime session, Cavalieri pumped home a 12-footer from the right elbow to send the crowd of 921 into a frenzy and give the hosts a 79-77 advantage. After a WNEC timeout, Coburn batted the initial inbounds back out of bounds, giving the visitors one last-ditch effort. A deep pass from Mike Booker was intercepted by Cavalieri at midcourt as the Pride hung on to the two-point win.
The game started off as a back-and-forth affair with six ties in the opening 10 minutes of play, the last coming after Andre Shaw converted a fast-break bucket with 9:25 left. From there, Springfield erupted on a 9-0 run over the next 3:01 capped off by a Coburn three-point play. Coburn pumped in seven of the nine points in the run as Springfield seemingly grabbed control of the contest. The Pride's lead ballooned to as much as 13 with just over 1:30 in the opening stanza after an Evan Christner jumper from the top of the key. A deep Shaw triple with nine seconds remaining cut Springfield's lead to seven, 40-33, heading into the half.
The home team's first-half lead had disappeared by the 13:57 mark of the second half as a three from Andre Duncan knotted the game at 48-all. Neither team would lead by more than two points over the next five-plus minutes until the Golden Bears used a five-point run, capped off by a Brendan Murphy triple, to take its' largest lead of the game at 61-56. However, a Christner fast-break bucket and a Darvis Rankins trifecta from the corner just 1:09 later once again had the teams grid locked at 61. Aftter a Booker layup put WNEC up two with 17 seconds remaining, Rick Johnson had a chance to ice the game from the free throw line. However he netted just one of two freebies with 17 seconds remaining to give the visitors a three-point advantage, setting up Cavalieri's heroics. Out of a timeout, the junior forward took a feed from Harkins and buried a three from 25 feet with seven ticks on the clock to force overtime.
Cavalieri added nine rebounds to his career-best 31 points as he connected on 13-of-21 shots. Coburn tallied his first career triple double, including a career-high 11 swats, while Harkins added 10 rebounds, six assists, and six points. Christner came off the bench and scored on all five of his shots to finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. With his 11 blocks, Coburn broke John Sylvia's record for most blocks in a season, as the sophomore center now has 75 through 22 games this year. Sylvia held the old mark of 73, which he set in 1987.
For WNEC, Shaw finished the game with 24 points as he buried five three's in the loss. Johnson added 13 points and seven assists, while Murphy chipped in with 12 points. Chris Devine was the only other member of WNEC to notch double figures in the scoring column as he totaled 10 points.
The Pride owned a 56-41 advantage on the glass, however turned the ball over 25 times in the contest.
Springfield returns to conference action on Saturday afternoon when it travels to take on Clark at 1:00 pm.