Springfield, Mass. - January 15, 2014 - The Springfield College men's basketball notched its second-straight New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) win on Wednesday, beating visiting Wheaton, 71-58 in Blake Arena.
Springfield improves to 11-3 overall and 2-1 in the NEWMAC while Wheaton falls to 6-5 on the season and 2-1 in conference play.
Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) was huge for Springfield with a double-double of 13 points and 18 rebounds, tying his career high on the boards. Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) was the game's leading scorer, putting up 17 points. The Pride had four players score in double-digit figures, as Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) and Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) registered 14 and 10 points, respectively. Martin had an overall game, adding six steals and four assists to his 14 points. Burke also dished out four helpers.
Wheaton was led by Quinton Dale (Winthrop, Mass.) with a team high 14 points and six rebounds. Billy Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn.) and Mike Cannon (New York, N,Y.) added eight and seven points, respectively.
Trailing by four points at the half, Springfield came out focused in the second, tallying six steals in the first 5:32.
Springfield used runs of 15-4 and 12-4 to run away with a commanding lead in the game's final minutes. The Pride grinded out the first seven minutes of the second half, using a 15-4 run to take a 50-42 lead with 8:43 to go in the game. The run was highlighted by a big three-pointer from Larry Piretra (Oakland, N.J.) to give the Pride an eight point lead.
In the game's final five minutes, Springfield put together another run, outscoring the Lyons 12-4 over a three minute span. Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) scored on back-to-back possessions for the Pride, sinking a quick jumper then draining a critical three-pointer from the left side to give Springfield a 59-47 lead with 4:16 left to play.
Springfield used 10-straight free throws in the final two minutes to secure the win. The Pride shot 19-of-27 (70.4%) from the foul line, 24-of-55 (43.6%) from the field and just 4-of-16 (25%) from three.
Wheaton shot 23-of-55 (41.8%) from the field, just 3-of-16 (18.8%) from three and 9-of-16 (56.3%) from the foul line.
Springfield wasted little time gaining control of the first half as a beautiful inside feed from Garstka resulted in a Swenson slam dunk, forcing the Lyons into a timeout trailing 13-6 just 4:06 into the game.
Wheaton battled back to get within 13-11 on a Dale jumper in the paint, only to have the Pride respond with a 12-3 surge as Garstka finished in the lane to give Springfield a 25-14 cushion with 9:22 on the clock.
Over the next 8:05, the visitors controlled the game, pouring on a 21- 4 run to gain a 35-29 lead following a triple by Cannon. Swenson would close out the half with a jumper at the buzzer to send the teams into the half with a 35-31 lead in favor of Wheaton.
Springfield will continue conference play on Saturday at MIT at 2:00 p.m. Wheaton will host Babson on Saturday at 1:00 p.m.