Springfield, Mass. -- January 25, 2012 -- Sean Martin scored a lay-up at the buzzer to lead his Springfield College men's basketball team to a pulsating 65-63 victory in overtime over WPI in a battle of New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference leaders this evening at SC's Blake Arena. It was Martin's only basket of the game and came as the game clock expired.
With 10.7 seconds left, the Pride's Alex Berthiaume, a junior from Springfield, Mass., made two free throws to tie the score at 63-all. He had been fouled driving to the hoop.
With five seconds left, WPI freshman Sam Longwell (Acton, Mass.) then took a contested lay-up down on the other end, with Martin, a sophomore from Rindge, N.H., gathering the rebound and already gaining momentum as he passed over the mid-court line. Martin decided to go straight to the hoop, and could not have cut it any closer. Just after he layed it up, the horn sounded and the ball went through the basket.
With the win, Springfield upped its record to 13-5 overall, and 5-1 in the NEWMAC. WPI fell to 14-4 overall, and to 4-2 in the league.
The Pride found itself in significant foul trouble right off the bat as they were without both of their big men, senior center Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, R.I.) and senior forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) for the majority of the first half. Coburn picked up two fouls in the opening 1:13, while Christner was whistled for three fouls in just four minutes of play.
The visitors led by five twice in the first half, the latter coming on a pair of free throws from freshman forward Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, Mass.) with 6:39 on the clock to make the score 19-14. Springfield responded by scoring six unanswered points to take a 20-19 lead after Berthiaume finished a gorgeous inside look from Rossi.
A jumper by senior center Matt Carr (Somersworth, N.H.) in the paint with 34 seconds remaining gave the Engineers a two point lead, but Burke converted a tough inside bucket with 13 ticks on the clock to send the teams into the locker room tied at 23.
Despite shooting 45% from the floor in the opening half, WPI hurt itself with 13 turnovers, which Springfield converted into 14 points. Springfield was limited to 32% shooting, but snagged 10 offensive boards to keep itself in the contest.
In the first eight minutes of the second half, WPI again jumped out to a lead, this time by as many as seven points twice. When Mastacusa hit a 3-pointer with 11:43 to go, it was WPI, 42-35.
But here came the most sustained run by either team as the Pride scored 12 straight points, nine of which were produced by Berthiaume, including a 3-pointer. When the dust cleared, SC led by five (47-42) with 8:20 left.
The Engineers clawed their way back in it, tying it on a lay-up by Carr with 1:22 left in regulation. With 32 seconds left, WPI took the lead on a jumper by senior guard David Brown (Lowell, Mass.), his only basket of the game.
But a driving lay-up by Berthiaume again tied it with 17 seconds left. Brown then missed a 3-point attempt with three seconds left that could have given WPI the victory.
The overtime was very exciting throughout with two ties and six lead changes. After Coburn gave SC the lead with two free throws at 61-60 with 1:12 remaining, Longwell made a lay-up with 46 seconds left. With 20 seconds left, senior guard Jaime Shannon (Lowell, Mass.) made one free throw to give WPI a two-point edge at 63-61. That led to the dramatic ending.
For Springfield, Berthiaume led with 21 points, followed by sophomore forward Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) with 16 points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.) added seven points on 3-of-3 shooting. Besides the winning hoop, Martin also contributed with five rebounds, five steals, and a stellar defensive game. Senior guard Jordan Rote (Sheffield Mass.) also contributed with six points and eight rebounds.
For WPI, Carr led all scorers with 25 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, his seventh double-double of the season, and 14th of his career. Mastacusa scored a career-high 16 points and added six rebounds.
WPI outrebounded SC, 41-38. But the Engineers turned it over 22 times to SC's 11.
WPI had won its last seven overtime games, including a 66-65 win over Trinity this season, going back to 2004.
The Pride will play again on Saturday afternoon for another league game when it travels to Babson for a 3:00 pm start.