Springfield, Mass. - January 26, 2013 - Senior Alex Berthiaume netted a game-high 21 points, but the Springfield College men's basketball could not overcome a sluggish offensive second half as it dropped a 69-65 conference battle with Babson College on Saturday afternoon in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play.
Babson improves to 11-9, 3-4 in league play, while the Pride lost consecutive games for the first time this season to now stand 14-6, 5-2.
As a team, Springfield shot 23-for 54 (42.6%), however connected on just 9-of-28 (32.1%) in the second half. Sean Martin was the only other member of the Pride to net double figures, posting 11 points, four assists, four boards, and three steals. Josh Altman registered six points and seven boards off the bench.
John Wickey also finished the afternoon with 21 points for Babson, including several clutch buckets down the stretch, while adding seven rebounds and four helpers. Matt Palazini tallied 15 points, and Russell Braithwaite contributed 13 points and six boards. The Beavers shot 23-for-47 (48.9%) for the contest, including hitting 10 of their 23 three-pointers.
The opening 20 minutes of play featured five ties, the last coming at 21-all on a pair of free throws from Braithwaite with 9:13 on the clock. Ryan Stowe found Wickey inside at the 7:04 mark to cap off a 7-2 push to give the visitors a five-point cushion, that it would hold on three different occasions in the stanza. Martin beat Babson's press in the final seconds and converted a conventional three-point play to make it a 38-36 game at the half.
Martin delivered a terrific feed to Berthiaume 2:27 into the second half to give Springfield back the lead for the final time. As it would play out several times down the stretch, every time Springfield got within striking distance of the Beavers, Babson would come through with clutch three-pointers to seal the conference road victory.
At the 11:04 mark, the visitors led 52-46 on a Braithwaite free throw, but an Altman layup and two freebies from Berthiaume cut it to two. Palazini answered with a deep three to push the lead to five, only to have Matt Pascuzzo hoist a three from the left corner that found the bottom of the net. Wickey responded for the visitors with another triple and a jumper in the paint as the Beavers opened up their largest lead of the game, 60-53, with just 2:45 on the clock.
The Pride would not back down though, as a free throw from Pat Rossi and a straightaway trifecta from Berthiaume with 1:21 remaining cut the lead to three. However, Wickey answered the call once again, drilling a three with the shot clock winding down to make it 65-59. Two more free throws from the big man made it an eight-point cushion, but Springfield put six points on the scoreboard in 12 seconds, using a three from Nick Sienkiewicz and three-point play by Berthiaume, to cut the lead to 67-65 with eight seconds remaining.
Wickey closed the door on any thoughts of last second heroics, knocking down a pair from the stripe to preserve the win.
Springfield will now prepare to travel for a conference game at Coast Guard on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 5:30 pm.