Worcester, Mass. - January 10, 2009 - Pat Crean was tremendous as he tallied a game-high 19 points on 8-of-11 shooting in just 26 minutes of action but it wasn't enough as the Springfield College men's basketball team dropped it's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener to WPI on Saturday, 76-55.
Jerome Kirkland and Jeffrey Robinson combined for 33 points off the bench to help spark host WPI to victory.
With the victory, WPI improves to 10-3 on the year and 2-0 in conference play while Springfield dips to 7-6 overall and 0-1 in NEWMAC action.
In his first game of the season as a reserve, Kirkland paced WPI with 17 points, including 11 in the first half. He also led all players with five assists and four steals on the day. Robinson added 16 points, connecting on 7-of-12 shots from field, including both of his 3-point attempts. For the game, the WPI bench outscored their Springfield counterparts by a 45-8 margin.
The Engineers trailed 5-2 in the early going before embarking upon a 12-2 run to take a lead they would not relinquish. WPI took a 36-28 advantage into the locker room at intermission then used a 11-2 spurt midway through the second half to secure to victory. WPI shot an impressive 57.1% in the second half and allowed Springfield to connect on just 1-of-11 3-point attempts in the game.
The Pride got within eight in the second half after an Anthony Epps lay up with 12 minutes remaining, but WPI was able to hang on for the win.
NT Izuchi tallied 10 points for the Crimson and Gray for the second straight game while Ben Etten (Hollis, NH) chipped in with nine points and Fernando Perez hauled in a game-best nine rebounds.
Crean, who was hampered by foul trouble all game, scored 14 points in the first stanza as he canned 6-of-7 first half shots. Matthew Cavalieri notched 12 points and six board for the Pride while Danny White collected nine points and dished out three assists. The Pride committed 23 turnovers in the contest.
WPI ventures outside the NEWMAC for its next contest, traveling to Trinity on Tuesday for a 7pm match-up. Springfield returns to Worcester on Wednesday at 5pm to take on Clark in a NEWMAC affair.