Babson Park, Mass. - January 11, 2014 - Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) tied his career-high with 22 points to lead the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 89-81 win over 25th-ranked Babson College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Saturday afternoon.
Springfield, which was also receiving votes in this week's D3Hoops.com National poll, improves to 10-3 on the year and picks up its first league win to even its conference record to 1-1. Babson also falls to 10-3, 1-1 in NEWMAC play.
Burke finished the afternoon with a double-double as he hauled in 10 boards to go along with his 22 points. Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) continued to get it done for the Pride all over the court, recording 15 points, 10 rebounds, and six assists in 43 minutes of action. Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) added 16 points and seven caroms, and Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) chipped in with 12 points and six helpers of his own. Springfield's bench outscored Babson's, 19-7, thanks to Larry Pirerta's (Oakland, N.J.) career-high 12 points.
First-year Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.) led five Beavers in double figures with 22 points. Senior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) knocked down four three-pointers and scored 21 points, while junior Eric Dean (Gilford, N.H.) contributed a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. Senior Kenny Ross (Furlong, Pa.) chipped in with 10 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds in the loss.
Babson had to rally late to force overtime for the third consecutive season between the two teams in Babson Park. Springfield led 70-62 with 4:55 left in regulation before the Green and White went on a 9-2 run to get within one. Ross buried a jumper, Palazini and Dean each made two free throws, and Dean then grabbed his own miss and converted a three-point play to cut the deficit to 72-71 with 2:12 to go.
Garstka hit a pair of free throws two possessions later for the Pride, but Beavers junior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) knocked down a three-pointer with 41 seconds remaining to tie the game at 74-74. Babson forced a Springfield shot-clock violation with seven ticks left, but were unable to get up a final shot after committing a turnover of its own with one second left.
The extra session was all Pride, as they scored on three of their first four possessions to build an 80-74 lead, and went 9-for-10 from the free throw line to close out the victory.
Springfield shot a blistering 57.1 percent (16-for-28) in the opening half and survived six ties and five lead changes to grab a 37-35 lead at the half. Babson opened the second half with a 13-4 run, sparked by five points from Flannery and four from Dean, to take its biggest lead of the afternoon at 48-41 with 16:30 left in the game. Following a timeout, the Pride responded with a 14-2 spurt of its own, capped by a layup from Swenson to go up 55-50 with 12:17 left.
Dean cut the Beavers’ deficit to three with a layup on their next possession, but first-year Nick McKenna (Danvers, Mass.) buried a contested three-pointer and Martin scored on back-to-back trips to put the Pride up 61-52. Two possessions later, Burke knocked down a jumper to give Springfield its biggest lead of the game at 65-54 with 7:55 left.
Babson shot just 39.4 percent (28-for-71) on the day, and struggled from beyond the arc, shooting just 22.6 percent. Springfield, which outscored the Beavers 40-36 in the paint, shot 55.7 percent (34-for-61) for the game. The Green and White held a 17-8 edge on second chance points and scored 13 points off turnovers.
The Pride will now prep for a home game against Wheaton this upcoming Wednesday. The league showdown will begin at 5:00 pm.