Springfield, Mass. - February 17, 2014 - Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) and Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) each put in a 19-point effort to lead the Springfield College men's basketball team in a 76-66 New England Women's & Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) win over Emerson on Monday afternoon in Blake Arena.
Sienkiewicz's 19 points came on 5-of-8 shooting, including three from behind the arc while Burke had seven rebounds and seven assists to go along with his 19 point day. Also in double-digit figures for the Pride was Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) with 14 points and Nick McKenna (Danvers, Mass.) with 12 off the bench, all from three. Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) posted a game-high 11 rebounds and added seven points. The Pride shared the ball well, tallying 20 assists on 24 baskets.
Emerson had four players score in double-digit figures, led by Brian Hurley (South Boston, Mass.) with a game-high 23 points. Michael Thorpe (Newton, Mass.) added 16, Jon Goldberg (Stowe, Vt.) had 14 and Eli Kell-Abrams (Berkeley, Calif.) shot 5-for-9 for 11 points for the Lions.
With the win, Springfield improves to 17-6 on the season and 8-4 in the NEWMAC, while Emerson drops to 13-10 (6-6).
Springfield took control of the first half right out of the gate, as Sienkiewicz found Burke in the paint for the game's first basket. After a stop on the defensive end, Burke gave a nice feed to Sienkiewicz on the perimeter to quickly make it a 5-0 game just one minute in.
Thorpe hit a jumper from the foul line to get Emerson on the board, making it a 6-2 game with 17:56 on the clock. The Lions kept it close early on, as Kell-Abrams hit back-to-back baskets, including a three-pointer to make it a 13-12 game with 14:15 on the clock, but Springfield went on a 8-0 run spanning almost six minutes to quickly take a 21-12 lead.
Sienkiewicz highlighted the run, finding Martin on a fast break to give the Pride an 18-12 lead with 8:50 left in the half, then on the next possession, Sienkiewicz capped the run by knocking down his second three-pointer of the game to go up by nine points.
Back-to-back three-pointers by McKenna and Martin just one minute apart stretched Springfield's lead to 14 points, going up 30-16 with 5:48 left in the half.
In the final 1:51 of the first, Springfield went on a 6-2 run with two baskets by Swenson and a jumper by Sienkiewicz to take a 39-24 lead at halftime. In the first half, Springfield tallied 12 assists on 15 baskets.
With the Pride holding a commanding 18 point lead just three minutes into the second half, Emerson went on a 14-2 run to make it a close game. A wide open three-pointer by Thorpe made it 46-38 with 13:00 on the clock., then Dan Boylan (Royal Oak, Mich.) found Hurley in the paint for an easy basket with 11:45 remaining to make it a six-point game.
Burke put the Pride back up by nine, ending the scoring drought by completing a three-point play with a basket and a foul for a 51-42 lead with 10:59 on the clock. Springfield took its double-digit lead back on a three-pointer by McKenna, but Emerson answered on the other end on a basket by Hurley to make it a 54-46 game with 9:30 left to play.
Emerson took advantage of three-consecutive Springfield turnovers to make it a five point game with 6:35 on the clock as Goldberg scored late in the shot clock to make it a 56-51 game, but McKenna knocked down a huge three-pointer, his third of the contest to make it a nine-point game with 5:38 to play.
An 8-0 Emerson run, capped by a jumper from Goldberg, cut the lead to just four points, forcing Springfield to call timeout with a 64-60 lead and 2:50 on the clock. Right out of the timeout, though, McKenna drained a wide open three-pointer to put Springfield up 67-60 with 2:43 to go.
Sienkiewicz was again big down the stretch, hitting two key free throws with 1:49 left to play to make it a nine point game then knocking down a three-pointer from the corner to go up 72-62 with 1:21 left.
Springfield closed it out with a pair of free throws by Sienkiewicz and one from Martin in the game's final 38 seconds to earn the double-digit win.
The Pride shot 24-of-49 (49%) from the field, 10-of-22 (45.5%) from three and 18-of-24 (75%) from the foul line. Emerson shot 28-of-66 (42.4%) for the game, 4-of-10 (40%) from behind the arc and 6-of-12 (50%) from the foul line.
Springfield will be back in action on Wednesday, playing at Clark for a 5:00 p.m. start. Emerson will host MIT on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m.