Springfield, Mass. -- January 21, 2012 -- Alex Berthiaume scored 17 points and Nick Sienkiewicz added 13 to lead the Springfield College men's basketball team past Clark University in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference contest at SC's Blake Arena this afternoon. It was the Pride's fourth straight win.
The win allowed the Pride to raise its record to 12-5 overall, 4-1 in the NEWMAC. Clark fell to 8-9 overall, 1-4 in the conference.
Springfield found itself trailing by two at the half (24-22). But a quick start to the second half, led by Sienkiewicz, a freshman from Cranston R.I., propelled the Pride to the victory.
Sophomore forward Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) scored nine points and added seven rebounds for the Pride. Senior forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) had eight points and four caroms for the home team.
For the Cougars, two players tallied in double figures. Sophomore guard Jake Gubitose (Fiskdale, Mass.) had 11, senior D.J. Bailey (Palmer, Mass.) had 10. Junior guard/forward Tucker Esborn (Branford, Conn.) added seven points and four rebounds.
Clark’s largest lead of the opening half was four as the Cougars owned a 6-2 cushion just 3:16 into the contest. Springfield responded to eventually take its first lead 10-9, on a sophomore guard Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) fast-break layup at the 11:32 mark.
After Cougar senior forward Marko Radovic (Belgrade, Serbia) connected on a long two-point jumper to make it a one-point game, the Pride reeled off a 9-0 run to take a 21-11 lead on a Berthiaume runner in the lane with 4:30 remaining.
The Cougars regrouped, however, and closed out the half on a 13-1 spurt, capped off by a Gubitose three-pointer at the buzzer to head into the locker room up 24-22.
Despite shooting 42.9% (9-21) from the floor in the first half, Springfield hurt itself with 12 turnovers.
The Pride started off well at the beginning of the second stanza, scoring 12 of the first 17 points to take a 34-29 lead 3:26 into that half. The run was sparked by two 3-pointers from Sienkiewicz, the first of which put SC up 29-26, giving SC the lead for good.
It was still a three-point game, 37-34, when three straight inside buckets by Christner, Burke, and Christner gave the Pride a bit of separation at 43-34 with 11:31 remaining.
From there-on, Clark managed to cut it to seven points three times, the last of which came with 3:25 left on a 3-pointer by Gubitose
Springfield would lead by as many as 15 points (67-52) on two free throws by Berthiaume, a junior from Springfield, Mass., with 36 seconds left, before Clark scored the last five points.
Springfield shot .500 (24-of-48) for the game, including .556 (15-of-27) in the second half. The Cougars shot .393 for the game (22-of-56). SC out-rebounded Clark, 38-27.
Next Wednesday (Jan. 25), SC will host WPI at 7 pm.