Springfield, Mass. - December 31, 2011 - The Springfield College and Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball teams easily handled semifinal contests of the Hampton Inn-West Springfield/Naismith Classic in Blake Arena on Saturday afternoon. In the second game, host Springfield defeated the University of New England, 72-48, while in the first game, it was Eastern Conn defeating Hunter, 75-35.
Game #1 -- Eastern Conn 75, Hunter 35
Springfield, Mass. - December 31, 2011 - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's basketball team blew past Hunter, 75-35, in the opening game of the Hampton Inn-West Springfield/Naismith Classic in Blake Arena on Saturday afternoon.
Eastern Conn raised its record to 7-1, while Hunter fell to 4-6.
In its 25th year of existence, the Classic will conclude on Saturday afternoon with the consolation game beginning at 1:00 pm and the championship tipping off at 3:00 pm.
Nick Nedwick scored a game-high 17 points for the Warriors, while Chris Robitaille tallied 16 points on 8-of-11 shooting to go along with seven boards. Jamie Kohn snagged a game-high nine boards, including five on the offensive glass, and Joe Ives dished out five assists.
Anthony Uter tallied a team-best 10 points off the bench for Hunter, while both Mark Courtien and Jeffrey Daza added five points each. Mark Wnukowski pulled down seven rebounds, and Joel Cerda handed out four assists.
Eastern Connecticut dominated the scoring inside, outscoring Hunter in the paint 38-18, including holding a 22-4 edge in the first half. The Warriors also turned 21 Hunter turnovers in 31 points.
The Warriors went into the half with an 18-point lead as they held Hunter to just 15 points on 6-of-25 shooting from the field. After Uter's conventional three-point play with 6:45 on the clock cut ECSU's lead to seven at 20-13, the Warriors opened up a 9-0 run to snag a commanding 29-13 lead with just under two minutes to play in the first half.
A fast-break layup by Nedwick capped off a 17-3 run by ECSU to open up the second half as they raced out to a 50-20 lead with 13:19 left in regulation. The Warriors led by as many as 44 in the contest as it limited Hunter to just 14-of-52 shooting for the game.
Game #2 -- Springfield 72, Univ. of New England 48
Springfield, Mass. -- December 31, 2011 -- Western Mass. products Alex Berthiaume, Jordan Rote, and Robbie Burke led the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 72-48 victory over the University of New England in game #2 of the Hampton Inn-West Springfield/Naismith Classic this afternoon at Blake Arena.
With the win, Springfield is now 8-3, while UNE fell to 0-7.
Berthiaume, who hails from Springfield, Mass. and who had quite a following, led the SC charge with 19 points. Burke, a native of Cheshire, Mass., followed up with 11 points, while Rote of Sheffield, Mass. added 10 points.
For UNE, Marcus Winn was the only player to score in double figures with 14, all in the first half.
The Nor'easters kept it close for the first 27 minutes of the game. At the half, Springfield led 37-32. With 13:09 remaining, it was a three-point game at 45-42 after UNE's Jordan Ferreira made a 3-pointer. Ferreira was next in line for UNE with nine points.
But over the course of the next eight minutes, SC outscored the Nor'easters, 22-3 to take a 67-42 lead with 4:53 remaining.
Berthiaume scored 10 of his 19 points in the first half. But Rote scored eight of his 10 points in the second half. Burke also had eight of his 12 rebounds in the second stanza.
Berthiaume made 9-of-16 from the floor, Rote 4-of-7, and Burke 5-of-7. Evan Christner made 3 of-3, and Pat Rossi 3-of-5.
The biggest difference in the game came in the rebounding department as SC had a huge 54-28 edge. The Pride outscored UNE, 52-4, in the paint. SC's biggest liability came in the turnover department as the Pride turned it over 23 times, while forcing 16.
SC shot .533 from the floor (32-of-60) overall, including .556 from the floor in the second half (15-of-27). UNE kept in the game in the first half by making 8-of-19 three-pointers It made 11-of-37 for the game (.297).
Tomorrow, SC will meet Eastern Connecticut in the championship game at 3 pm, while Hunter meets UNE in the consolation game at 1 pm.