Springfield, Mass. - November 19, 2013 - The Springfield College men's basketball team stormed past visiting Western New England, 95-69, to open the season on Tuesday night in Blake Arena as Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) tied a career-high with 21 points.
Western New England drops to 0-3 with the loss, while the Pride improve to 1-0 as it captured its fourth-straight home opener.
Sienkiewicz poured in 19 of his 21 points in the first half as he canned 5-of-6 from beyond the arc. Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) added 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting and Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) put forth a monster effort in the paint, registering career-highs in both rebounds and blocks with 18 and 7. Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) had five assists on the night as Springfield dished out 27 helpers on 35 made buckets.
For the game, Springfield shot 35-or-68 (55.6%) and buried 13-of-20 shots from downtown, including a remarkable 11-for-15 performance in the first 20 minutes of action.
Western New England was paced by Dennis Rinaldi (Harrison, N.Y.), who netted 16 points and poured down seven rebounds, while Musa Elsir (Springfield, Mass.) tacked on 14 points and nine caroms. The Golden Bears finished the night shooting 27-for-72 (37.5%) and connected on just five of 21 bids from three.
The opening half started off back and forth as the lead changed seven times in the early going. After Sienkiewicz, Burke, and Simon Kilday (Arlington, Va.) all drained three-pointers for the Pride to give the hosts a 9-5 cushion, Western New England responded with a 15-6 push to take a 20-15 lead on an Elsir jumper at the 12:20 mark.
Rinaldi converted down low to knot things at 26 with 9:02 on the clock before Springfield ended the half on a 27-11 surge to go into the locker room with a 53-37 advantage. The Pride had five triples in the run, including a pair from Sienkiewicz.
The Pride did their damage on the inside in the second half, pouring in 28 points in the paint after tallying just eight in the first half. A Nick DeFeo (Southington, Conn.) lay-up brought the visitors with 16 with 16:45, but that's as close as the game would get as Springfield's reserves continued to pour on the offensive pressure. The Pride went on to lead by as many as 32 following a Josh Downes (East Sandwich, Mass.) jumper before eventually ending the game win a 26-point margin victory.
The Pride will play another local-foe on Thursday when it travels to take on Elms at 7:00 pm.