Worcester, Mass. - January 26, 2011 - Senior guard Billy Harkins carried the Springfield College men's basketball team down the stretch to rally past Clark University, 75-72, in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest on Wednesday evening.
Harkins, a native of Bellmore, N.Y., posted 17 points, eight assists, seven steals, and five rebounds for the Pride, which snapped a three-game losing skid to improve to 10-8 overall, 3-3 in league play. Clark is now 6-13 overall, 0-6 in the NEWMAC.
Senior forward Matt Cavalieri (West Warwick, R.I.) led the Pride with 20 points, adding seven rebounds. Junior forward Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, R.I.) scored 11 points and added five rebounds. Sophomore forward Pat Rossi (Rock Tavern, N.Y.) came off the bench to net a career-best 12 points in the win.
For the Cougars, Brian Vayda led all scorers with 26 points. When Vayda scored a free throw with 6:20 left, Clark led by a score of 62-56. But then Harkins began to take over. Harkins' lay-up with 6:05 left cut the margin to four at 62-58. Junior forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) then made a lay-up with 4:32 to go, and SC trailed by just two.
Following a lay-up by Tucker Esborn, which built Clark's lead back to four at 64-60, Harkins scored two free throws with 3:54 to go. A steal by Rankins came next, and Rankins was fouled on a lay-up attempt. With 3:21 left, two Rankins' free throws tied it at 64-all.
Clark retook the lead, but a lay-up by Harkins with 2:26 left tied it at 66. A Coburn jumper with 1:31 left put Springfield into the lead for good at 68-66.
Then Harkins really took over. He parlayed one steal into a fast-break lay-up with 1:14 left for an SC four-point lead (70-66). Six seconds later, Harkins stole the ball again, and made one free throw after he was fouled. SC led by five, 71-66, with 1:08 left. Then with 45 seconds left, Harkins scored two more free throws to put SC up by seven, 73-66, its largest lead of the game. And, in that 5 1/2 minute period, SC had outscored Clark, 17-4.
Harkins scored three more free throws in the final 34 seconds, which was counterbalanced by a pair of 3-pointers by Vayda.. A final 3-point attempt by Clark's Jeff Tagger missed at the buzzer.
Clark led by one at the half, 36-35. Clark led by 10 points, its largest lead, in that first half of play. Clark outrebounded the Pride, 43-31. But Clark committed 18 turnovers to SC's nine. Each team shot similarly from the field. SC shot .450, while Clark shot .458 from the floor. SC was only 2-of-5 from 3-point range, while Clark was 6-of-22 (.273). From the line, SC was 17-of-27 (.704), while Clark went 12-of-14 (.857).
Up next, Springfield hosts Wheaton Saturday (Jan. 29) at 7 pm in Blake Arena.