Worcester, Mass. - February 17, 2010 - Matt Cavalieri returned to the lineup and poured in a game-high 20 points to lead the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 70-50 win at rival WPI on Wednesday evening in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) clash.
The Pride used a key 17-0 lead in the first half to take complete control of the game as the Pride locked up at least the second seed in the upcoming NEWMAC Tournament which begins next Wednesday (Feb. 24).
The victory, coupled with Wheaton’s upset of nationally-ranked MIT, moves Springfield within a game of the top of the NEWMAC standings. The Pride (13-11, 8-3 NEWMAC) hosts MIT in the regular season finale on Saturday. WPI, ranked 10th in the latest NCAA Division III Northeast rankings, falls to 17-6 overall and 6-5 in the conference.
After an opening 10 minutes of play that featured 12 lead changes, Springfield embarked upon a 17-0 run that turned a 22-21 deficit into a 38-22 advantage just before the end of the half. The Pride did it with their defense, forcing the Engineers to miss 11 straight shots during the run and harassing the hosts into five turnovers.
Springfield, which drained 51.5% of its shots in the first half, kept WPI at bay in the second half by connecting on 63.3% its attempts after the intermission. The hosts would climb back to within 11 on four different occasions in the second half but could never whittle the deficit to single digits.
Cavalieri tallied 10 points in each half while canning all four of this 3-point attempts. Ryan Coburn aided the Pride effort with 15 points as he connected on 7 of 9 shots, while Pat Crean filled the stat sheets with 11 points, six assists, six rebounds and four steals. The senior forward shared game-high assists honors with teammate Billy Harkins.
On the night, Springfield enjoyed a 34-14 scoring edge in the paint while snapping a nine-game regular season losing streak to the Engineers.
Kyle Nadeau netted 13 of his team-high 16 points in the first half. Matt Carr, Fernando Perez, and Craig Melillo all registered six points off the bench for the Crimson and Gray, while Carr hauled in a team-high six rebounds.
Springfield will play its final regular-season game on Saturday afternoon when it hosts conference-leader MIT at 1:00 pm. SC is just one game back of the MIT Engineers in the NEWMAC standings with just that one regular-season game left.