Springfield, Mass. - January 8, 2014 - Despite an 18-point performance from Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.), the Springfield College men's basketball team fell to visiting WPI, 81-61 Wednesday in the first New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) match up of the season in Blake Arena.
With the loss, Springfield falls to 9-3 overall and 0-1 in the NEWMAC while WPI improves to 11-1 (1-0, NEWMAC).
Burke added eight rebounds to his team-high 18 points for the Pride. Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) had an all-around game, tallying 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The Engineers had four players score in double-digit figures, led by Sam Longwell (Acton, Mass.) who posted a game-high 23 points on 10-of-16 shooting. Aaron Davis (Marshfield, Mass.) added 16 points and six assists, Ryan Kolb (Southington, Conn.) had 13 points and Zach Karalis (North Andover, Mass.) added 12 off the bench for the Engineers, who were ranked sixth this week in the D3Hoops.com National Poll.
The Engineers came out firing, as Davis drained three from behind the arc and Kolb hit one in the first 4:30 of the game to take a 14-6 lead early on. WPI was 9-for-14 from three in the first half.
WPI took its first double-digit lead 9:10 into the game on a three-pointer by Kolb and never relinquished it. The Engineers led 22-10 on the Kolb basket which was part of an 11-0 run for WPI. The Engineers had three-pointers by three different players during the stretch that put them up 28-10 with 10:44 left in the first half.
Springfield closed the gap with just under six minutes left in the half, scoring on three-straight possessions. Sean Martin knocked down a three-pointer to get things started for the Pride, making it a 39-17 game. On the next possession, Burke lofted a nice feed into the paint for Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.), who finished it for a quick two points. Burke made it a 39-21 game with 5:37 left in the first with a big basket in the paint.
WPI held a 51-30 lead at halftime. Martin got Springfield going to start the second half, driving to the hoop for a quick basket in the opening minute. WPI held a 51-32 lead.
Longwell drained another three pointer to make it a 22-point game a minute later, but Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) answered on the other end with a big basket from behind the arc to make it a 19-point game.
The two teams went on to exchange baskets and the Engineers led by as much as 23 in the half.
The Pride put together a late 7-0 run, holding WPI scoreless for nearly three minutes. Martin's basket in the paint to make it a 63-42 game was followed by a big three-pointer by Simon Kilday (Arlington, Va.). On the other end of the court, Kilday had a huge block for the Pride as WPI drove to the basket. Springfield gained possession and Burke drew a foul on the other end after bringing in an offensive rebound. The senior knocked down both of his free throws to make it a 63-47 game with 8:38 left on the clock.
After a Longwell three-pointer that ended WPI's scoreless drought, Martin brought the deficit down to 16 points on a three-pointer from the corner. WPI answered back on the other end, though, as Kolb knocked down a three pointer of his own to make it a 69-50 game with 6:03 to play.
Springfield shot 20-of-47 (42.6%) from the field, 5-of-15 (33.3%) from three and 16-of-25 (64%) from the foul line. Swenson finished the day with nine points and five boards while Garstka and Kilday each added seven points.
WPI shot 32-of-58 (55.2%) from the field, 14-of-23 (60.9%) from behind the arc and 3-of-7 (42.9%) from the foul line.
Up next for Springfield is a trip to Babson on Saturday for a 2:00 p.m. start. WPI will host MIT on Saturday, also tipping off at 2:00.