Springfield, Mass. - February 13, 2013 - Playing in the final home game of his career, senior Alex Berthiaume’s floater found the bottom of the net as time expired as the Springfield College men’s basketball team clipped Clark University, 57-55, in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest Wednesday evening.
Springfield improved to 17-7, 8-3 in league play, while Clark evened its record to 12-12, 6-5 in conference action.
Berthiaume finished with 15 points, while teammate Robbie Burke added 11 points and five boards. Sean Martin was key down the stretch, ending the contest with nine points and a pair of steals.
For the Cougars, DJ Bailey posted a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards to go along with three blocks. Brian Vayda added a double-double of his own with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and five helpers. Despite shooting just 30.5% (18-59) for the game, Clark benefited from a 44-33 edge on the boards, including a 19-7 advantage on the offensive glass.
The visitors opened up an early 12-6 lead after Bailey completed an old-fashioned three-point play with 15:22 on the clock. Springfield would crawl back within three on a corner three from Berthiaume with 7:50 on the clock. After a Nicholas DaPrato jumper pushed the lead back to five, the Pride rattled off the game's next six points to take a 21-20 lead on a Matt Pascuzzo free throw with 4:28 on the clock.
The teams would trade the lead five times before Springfield headed into the half with a two-point cushion thanks to Josh Altman slamming home a fast-break dunk in the final minute.
Consecutive threes from Jake Gubitose put the Cougars back on top, 34-30 just 2:17 into the half. Clark's lead grew to eight, 41-33, on a inside bucket from Bailey with 15:14 to play in regulation, forcing head coach Charlie Brock into a timeout.
Springfield responded with a 9-0 run over a 3:51 span to regain a 42-41 lead. Martin kick started the run with a corner three and Pat Rossi capped off the spurt with a tip-in bucket.
Clark used back-to-back 18-foot jumpers by Travis Curley to put the visitors back on top 45-42 at the 9:38 mark and two freebies from Bailey gave the Cougars another four-point lead with 5:14.
However, Martin was left all alone at the top of the key and senior drilled a wide open three to even the game at 55 with just 1:21 remaining. With 34.3 seconds left, Vayda was fouled, but missed a pair of free throws to give the Pride the ball back.
Berthiaume couldn't convert a tough floater in the lane and as Clark attempted to break out in transition, Martin drew an offensive foul at midcourt with 4.3 left to give the hosts back the ball.
Out of a timeout, Berthiuame took a the ball from the left side and released a floater just before time expired to complete the thrilling come-from-behind victory.
Springfield will conclude the regular season on Saturday on the road when it heads to Wheaton for a 2:00 pm contest.