Worcester, Mass. – February 23, 2013 - Sean Martin scored a career-best 21 points to lift the Springfield College men's basketball team to a 68-60 win over 19th-ranked MIT in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Semifinals on Saturday afternoon.
Alex Berthiaumeand Martin each accounted for eight points as third-seeded Springfield scored 16 of the final 18 points to power past MIT for the win.
Springfield, ranked seventh in the latest NCAA Division III Northeast regional rankings, improves to 19-7 and reaches its third NEWMAC final in the last five years. The Pride will meet top seed and host WPI at 1pm on Sunday. MIT, 19th in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 and sixth in the NCAA regional rankings, falls to 20-5 and awaits word on Monday for a possible NCAA at-large bid.
The duo of Berthiaume and Martin shared game-high honors with 21 points, while Robbie Burke registered 11 points and 10 rebounds en route to posting a double-double. The junior also doled out a team-high four assists. Tim Swenson also had the best showing of his young career, posting career-bests in rebounds (8) and blocks (4).
Will Tashman lead MIT with 19 points and 11 rebounds and Matt Redfield also recorded a double-double for the Engineers, collecting 14 points and grabbing 11 boards. James Burke also reached double digits in scoring with 11 points while Mitchell Kates stuffed the stat sheets with eight points, four assists and a pair of steals.
Tashman scored the first seven points of the game, drilling a straightaway three to give the Engineers a 7-0 lead 2:04 into the game. Despite struggling from the field in the first half, the Pride found itself down just four thanks to a last-minute push. With 1:21 left in first half, Redfield knocked down a foul line jumper to give the Engineers an 11-point cushion at 34-23. Springfield closed out the half on a 7-0 burst as Martin drilled a corner three from the right side and followed it up with a lay up. With the clock winding down, Berthiaume got a steal at mid-court and raced in for a layup as the clock expired.
MIT wasted little time seizing back control of the game, outscoring the Pride 12-6 in the opening 4:55 of the second, using a Burke put-back bucket to force the Pride into a timeout.
After Berthiaume canned a corner three to cut it to 49-45, George Adams finished a gorgeous no-look pass from Burke to get Springfield within three, 49-46, as MIT burned a timeout with 8:45 to play.
Martin's three from the left corner made it a two-point contest, and after Justin Pedley made one-of-two from the line, Josh Altman answered with a deep from the left wing to tie the game for the first time all afternoon at 52.
Tashman made two from the line and Kates added a three after an offensive board from Redfield as MIT pushed its lead back to five. Berthiaume responded with four-straight for the Pride, including a tough leaner in the paint, bringing Springfield within 57-56 at the 3:29 mark.
Berthiaume came up with a steal on the ensuing play and delivered a great pass to Martin on the break, who finished while being fouled to give Springfield its first lead of the game. After MIT missed a jumper on its ensuing possession, Berthiaume drained a lay-up to increase the bulge to three. After a turnover, Springfield got a key offensive rebound on its next possession by Swenson and Martin hit a layup after basket interference was called.
Springfield iced the game at the line hitting all six of its free throws to seal the victory.