Worcester, Mass. - February 1, 2014 - The Springfield College men's basketball team narrowly fell to No. 4 WPI, 71-70 on the road on Saturday in a thrilling New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) match up.
Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) had another huge game to lead the Pride, putting in a 17 point, 13 rebound effort despite the loss. Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) chipped in 11 points for Springfield while Simon Kilday (Arlington, Va.) added 10 points in just 14 minutes off the bench. Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) had an all-around day with nine points, five assists and four boards. Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) finished the day with eight points and five rebounds. Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) contributed nine boards and eight points.
Springfield falls to 14-5 on the season and 5-3 in the NEWMAC.
Sophomore point guard Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA) slipped and nearly turned it over in the final minute of a Saturday afternoon nail-biter versus Springfield, but he sprung back up, got the ball back and went glass on a reverse layup for the winning basket with 53.3 seconds remaining.
The host Engineers (18-1, 8-0 NEWMAC) led just 3:37 in the entire game, but rallied back from as far down as 10 for a 71-70 win at Harrington Auditorium.
WPI, ranked #4 in the country by D3hoops.com, won its 15th straight game - its second longest streak in school history. The victory was also the 26th straight in Harrington Auditorium and was the 250th career triumph for head coach Chris Bartley. Also, coupled with Clark’s upset over MIT, the Boynton Hillers now hold a three-game lead atop the NEWMAC over Springfield, MIT and Babson with just six conference games remaining.
WPI got a 3-point play by Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) and then a 3-pointer from Zach Karalis (North Andover, MA) to combat a 5-point deficit with 3:36 left. Karalis’ trey made it 69-68 WPI with 2:20 to go, before a layup by Burke put the Pride back in front on the next possession.
WPI junior Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) led all scorers with 19 points, while Longwell followed with a double-double, totaling 13 points and 10 rebounds. Davis was the hosts’ third double-digit scorer with 12 points.
Garstka scored five early points en route to 11 for the game and put the visitors up, 20-10, with 8:34 left in the first half.
The Engineers made a strong push into halftime, though, outscoring the Pride, 19-9, over the rest of half, including all 10 of Mastascusa’s first half points.
The junior capped an 11-0 WPI run to make it 27-22 in favor of the hosts with 2:08 left in the first half. Longwell, Davis, senior Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT), and freshman Marcus Middleton (Stoughton, MA) also contributed to the rally.
Kilday tied it for Springfield at 29-29 at halftime, sinking a jumper 23 seconds before the intermission.
WPI was within two, 40-38, just over four minutes into the second half, but Springfield strung together a seven-point spurt led by Martin, who converted a traditional 3-point play to open up a nine-point lead 1:50 later.
The hosts picked away at the lead over the next eight minutes and tied it at 61-61 with 6:09 remaining after back-to-back 3s from Karalis and Mastascusa.
Karalis scored all eight of his points in the second half, and stuffed the stat sheets with eight rebounds, three assists, two 3-pointers and a block. Kolb added nine points for the Engineers, despite a poor shooting night for the forward.