Springfield, Mass. - March 2, 2013 - Alex Berthiaume netted a career-best 35 points, including the 1,000th of his career, however the Ithaca College men's basketball team defeated host Springfield College, 89-77, in a NCAA Division III Championship First Round contest in front of 1,600 fans in Blake Arena.
Ithaca improves to 20-8 and will advance to play the University of Rochester next Saturday. Springfield's season comes to a close with a 19-9 mark, proving to be its best season since 2005.
In what would prove to be his final collegiate game, Berthiaume was tremendous, pouring in 35 points on 14-of-23 shooting. The senior entered the game needing 27 to reach 1,000 points in just two years, and he became the 28th player in program history to reach the milestone on a layup with 6:26 left in regulation.
Josh Altman provided a great spark off the bench, pumping in 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Robbie Burke tallied 11 points and nine rebounds. Sean Martin was the only other member of the Pride to score in double figures, posting 10 in the loss.
Springfield, which gave up a season-high in points to the Bombers, struggled from the line, going 11-for-21.
Travis Warech had a dominant evening for the Bombers, registering 25 points and 15 rebounds. Sean Rossi, the NCAA Division III career-leader in assists, added 19 points and eight assists, while Frank Mitchell added a double-double of his own with 17 points and 11 caroms. Andrei Oztemel recorded 14 points, including four trifectas, off the bench. As a team, Ithaca held a 40-29 edge on the glass and shot 54.7% (29-53) from the field.
The visitors opened up a 22-17 lead at the 8:57 mark of the first half after Oztemel canned back-to-back three pointers. Springfield would claw back into the contest, and take its first lead since the 16:16 mark of the half on a driving lay up by Martin with 2:21 on the clock. Mitchell and Berthiaume traded layups in the final 1:06 before Warech hit a high-arching turnaround bank shot with four ticks to make it a 38-37 game at the half, in favor of the Bombers.
Feeding off the home crowd's feverish energy, Springfield opened up the first 7:54 on the second stanza scoring 22 of the first 32 points to take a 59-50 stranglehold of the game. However, on the ensuing possession, Rossi was fouled shooting a three-pointer, and after a media timeout, drained all three. That would prove to be the start of a 15-0 run over a 2:41 span as the Bombers regained a 65-59 lead.
Springfield answered with five-straight points, with Berthiaume hitting 1-of-2 from the line to make it 65-64 with 7:40 to go. Ithaca once again responded with a key push, this time going on an 11-4 burst to regain a 76-68 following an 18-footer from Warech.
The Pride used a three-point play from Berthiaume to get within five at the 3:39 mark, but Warech was too strong down the stretch, hitting a deep three before putting an exclamation point on the victory with a dunk with 13 seconds remaining, giving Ithaca an 89-75 lead. Berthiaume closed out his career with a runner in the lane, finishing the game's 12-point margin.