Springfield, Mass. -- February 6, 2012 -- Junior guard Alex Berthiaume scored 30 points to lead the Springfield College men's basketball team to a non-conference 85-70 victory over neighborhood-rival Western New England University this evening at SC's Blake Arena.
With the victory, Springfield now raises its record to 15-7, while Western New England falls to 7-14.
The 30 points is just two short of Berthiaume's career-high 32 versus Amherst on December 2 of this season. His 13 field goals in tonight's contest, however, is a season's best. Alex also had four rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and a steal. He was 13-for-20 from the floor and 3-for-5 from 3-point range.
A Springfield, Mass. native, Berthiaume received a fair amount of help from fellow guards Jordan Rote, a senior from Sheffield, Mass., with 15 points, and Nick Sienkiewicz, a freshman from Cranston, R.I., with 14 points. Rote also had three rebounds, three steals, and two assists. Sienkiewicz had perhaps his best game by shooting 6-for-6 from the field, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range.
For the Golden Bears, they too had three score in double-figures. They included senior guard Andre Shaw (New York, N.Y.) with 21 points, sophomore forward Daniel Minto (West Hempstead, N.Y.) with 15, and junior guard Damon Alston (New Britain, Conn.) with 14. Shaw also had six rebounds and was 8-of-11 from the floor, while Minto had a team-high eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks, and was 6-of-9 from the floor.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with 11 lead changes and seven ties. The Pride jumped out to an early 9-4 lead behind seven quick points from Berthiuame just 2:27 into the contest. The Golden Bears, despite early shooting troubles, were able to stay close by hammering the offensive glass.
After an inside bucket from SC senior forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) evened things at 27-all at the 5:42 mark, Minto connected on back-to-back mid-range jumpers to give the visitors their largest lead of the opening half, 31-27, with 4:44 remaining. The Pride responded with a 7-2 run, punctuated by a three-pointer from Berthiuame to give the hosts back a 34-33 lead at the 2:34 mark. Shaw answered right back with a three of his own from the right wing, giving the Bears their final lead of the half. The next time down the court, Berthiuame drilled a deep three, kick-starting a 5-0 Springfield burst to end the half as the Pride headed into the intermission up 39-36.
A Sienkiewicz lay-up to start the second half pushed the Pride’s lead to five, but WNE answered with a 10-2 run, capped off by consecutive triples from Shaw to give the visitors a 46-43 lead. The Pride benefitted from a big run of its own, this time using a 12-3 push over a 3:05 span, after a Berthiuame floater, to earn a 55-49 lead. Shaw cut the lead to three on the next possession with another trifecta, but Springfield went on a 9-2 run over the next 1:57 to take control of the contest. SC led 64-54 with 10:46 remaining.
The Golden Bears would cut it to five at 66-61 with nine minutes straight up left on a free throw by sophomore guard Ryan Mickiewicz (East Longmeadow, Mass.). But three minutes later, the SC lead was up to double-digits. When Berthiaume scored his final bucket with 34 seconds left, the Pride had its largest lead (17) at 85-68.
WNE won the rebounding battle, 35-31. But SC turned it over just nine times in the game, while forcing 15 turnovers of its own.
Springfield had a very good shooting night -- .537 overall, .567 in the second-half alone. SC was also 21-of-26 from the free throw line (.808), Meanwhile, WNE shot .448 from the floor for the game, including .500 from 3-point range (8-of-16). SC sophomore Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) had an excellent floor game with eight points, eight rebounds, five assists, and three steals. The last three figures were all team highs.
Springfield will now prepare for a clash with rival WPI for a critical conference contest in Worcester on Saturday afternoon at 2:00 pm.