Springfield, Mass. - February 3, 2010 - The Springfield College men's basketball team held on for a thrilling 58-56 win over the visiting Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday evening in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) match. Matt Cavalieri recorded 16 points and eight rebounds to pace the Pride to victory.
With the win, Springfield has leveled its record at 10-10 overall, and continues to do very well at 6-2 in the conference. Coast Guard falls to 7-11 overall, and 4-4 in the league.
Cavalieri, a junior forward from West Warwick, R.I.) scored 10 of his 16 points in the first half, when SC led by a count of 34-27 at the intermission. Two others scored in double figures for the Pride. They were junior guard Billy Harkins (Bellmore, N.Y.) with 11 points, and senior forward Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) with 10. Crean added a game-high six assists. Cavalieri also had three assists. Harkins added seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals, and was 5-of-6 from the floor.
For Coast Guard, freshman forward Greg Marshall (Gaithersburg, Md.) tallied a game-high 20 points. He also had two assists, one block, and one steal, while shooting 7-of-12 from the field and 4-of-6 from 3-point range. The only other double figure scorer for the Academy was junior guard Brett Huntley (Masseria, N.Y.) with 11. Junior forward Jevon James (St. Thomas, V.I.) scored eight points and pulled down a team-high five rebounds.
Coast Guard jumped out to a 7-2 lead on a jumper by Marshall four minutes into the game. The Bears still led 20-16 on a 3-pointer by Marshall with 9:06 left in the half. Springfield, however, would take the lead for good with 6:19 left on a jumper by Cavalieri. That sparked an 11-0 run by SC -- the best spurt by either team in the game. With 2:06 left, following a lay-up by Cavalieri, SC was up 32-22. The Bears then finished the stanza with a 5-2 run, and the Pride led, 34-27.
In the second half, Springfield seemed to be cruising within the first eight minutes or so. When Harkins scored on a jumper with 11:48 left, the Pride led, 51-38.
But from thereon, SC was destined to score only seven more points. With 7:18 left, following a long jumper by sophomore center Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, R.I.), SC still led by 12 at 54-42. Huntley made two free throws with 3:52 left, and that cut it to 54-48. A jumper by Harkins then gave SC an eight-point lead (56-48) with just 3:27 to go.
After one free throw by Cavalieri, Coast Guard's senior guard Stefan Lewis (Warner Robins, Ga.) then came to life, hitting back-to-back 3-pointers with 1:59 left and 1:09 left. And that cut SC's lead all the way down to one at 57-56. Crean hit the second of two free throws with 23 seconds left, making it 58-56.
With the shot clock off, Coast Guard had two more attempts, the first by Lewis on a 3-pointer with two seconds left. The ball went out of bounds, but Coast Guard retained possession with one-tenth of a second remaining. A tip-in by James failed to connect, however, at the buzzer, and Springfield had escaped with the win.
Springfield shot 50% for the game from the field (24-of-48), while Coast Guard shot .382 (21-of-55). Coast Guard's 3-point shooting kept them in the game (.400, 8-of-20). The Pride outrebounded the Bears, 33-27. SC had eight blocks to CGA's two. Coburn had six of those blocks for the Pride.
The Pride, which is in the midst of a three-game homestand, next suits up on Saturday evening when it hosts Babson for another conference clash. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 pm.