Norton, Mass. - February 8, 2014 - Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) netted 16 points in the second half, none bigger than the go-ahead three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left as the Springfield College men's basketball team escaped with a 73-72 win at Wheaton College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action.
After the Lyons went 1-for-2 from the free throw line to make it a 72-70 game with six seconds to play, Springfield took its ensuing inbound over half-court and called its final timeout to set up an out-of-bounds play. Sienkiewicz inbounded the ball slightly to the right of his own bench to senior forward Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) and then slipped to the left wing burying the contested shot for the win. Wheaton chucked a baseball pass near the top of the three-point arc on its next possession, but no foul was called ending the game.
Burke finished with a double-double posting 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and 13 rebounds (four offensive). Sienkiewicz had 16 points, four rebounds and one assist in 30 minutes of action. Senior forward Tim Swenson (Milbury, Mass.) notched 12 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two blocks, while classmate Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) registered 11 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals.
The Lyons used a balanced effort against Springfield highlighted by a game-high 17 points and seven rebounds from freshman guard Agyei Gregory (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands/St. Andrews). Senior guard Will Bayliss (Manchester, N.H./Tilton School) collected ten points, dished out a game-high six assists and grabbed four rebounds. Freshman forward Quinton Dale (Winthrop, Mass./Taft School) tallied ten points, eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Sophomore guard Billy Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn./Taft School) and freshman center Timothy Berry (Sterling, Mass./St. Peter Marian) both had ten points.
Wheaton held a 39-32 advantage the break in large part to its 20-9 run to begin contest. Dale contributed six points to the spurt, while Gregory and Bayliss both added five points. Freshman forward Zach Parsons (Belchertown, Mass./Belchertown) and junior guard Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) also factored into the scoring with a bucket apiece.
Springfield eventually carved away at its deficit to bring the game within one possession at the 4:39 mark on a tip-in from Swenson after missed three-pointer. The Lyons answered with an 8-0 run to push their lead back to 11 points (37-26) with 2:32 remaining in the half before Springfield countered with a 6-2 run of its own to end the stanza.
The second half featured two lead changes and one tie as both teams kept play within two possessions until 56-seconds remaining on the clock. Dale swished a pair of free throws for a 68-61 differential but Martin responded for the Pride with two free throws and a layup off a steal directly under Springfield’s basket to cut Wheaton’s advantage to 68-65 with 47-seconds to go. Both teams exchanged free throws to keep it a three-point game with 38-seconds left in the stanza, then Baylis bumped the Lyons’ lead back up to 71-67 going 1-for-2 from the line with 18 ticks left on the scoreboard. Sienkiewicz drilled a three-pointer on a feed from Martin with 10-seconds remaining to make it a 71-70 contest before his game-winning trey sent the visitors home with a win after Wheaton only converted 1-of-2 free throws at the six-second mark.
The Lyons held a 24-16 margin in points off turnovers and a 25-10 differential in bench points. The Pride outscored the hosts 38-22 in the paint and compiled 16 second chance points.
Wheaton (7-12, 2-8 NEWMAC) hosts Clark University on Wednesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. Springfield (16-5, 7-3 NEWMAC) welcomes Babson College to its campus on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.