Norton, Mass. - January 30, 2010 - The Springfield College men's basketball team rallied from 16 points down in the first half and held on for a 66-63 win at Wheaton College in a critical New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest.
The Blue and White slipped to 6-13 overall and 2-5 in the league, while the Pride improved to 9-10 and 5-2.
Junior Anthony Coppola led the Lyons with 19 points, while senior Ben Stehle had 12 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Cliften Desravines added eight points and six boards, while sophomore Brendan Degnan had six assists.
Sophomore Ryan Coburn notched 16 points, six rebounds and three blocks for Springfield, junior Matthew Cavalieri had 13 points, and freshman Colby Verge notched 10 points off the bench. Senior Pat Crean had nine points, 10 boards and six assists, while junior Billy Harkins contributed seven rebounds, five assists and five steals.
Springfield finished off a 19-2 run early in the second stanza, grabbing a 38-37 edge on Cavalieri's three at 18:04. Cavalieri's third triple of the stanza, and his team's fifth consecutive made trey after the Pride had missed its first eight attempts, had the visitors on top 41-39 at the 17:17 mark. Desravines had both of Wheaton's buckets in the first 4:24, including an alley-oop dunk off a Coppola dish.
The Lyons responded with an 8-0 run, with Coppola knotting the game off a Degnan backdoor pass before Stehle and freshman Scott Faucher buried threes 36 seconds apart to make it 47-41. Springfield pushed back into a 50-49 lead at 11:14 with a later 7-0 run, as Crean made a pair of baskets. In the second half alone, the squads played through nine lead changes and four ties.
Neither team led by more than two points during a 7:06 stretch before the Pride rallied from a 54-53 deficit with a 6-0 run, but a Coppola lay-up knotted the game with 1:58 left. Verge nailed a three just 16 seconds later to give the Pride the lead for good, and Wheaton missed four shots during the final 29 seconds that would have tied the game or given the hosts the lead, including the last try from three with fewer than two seconds remaining.
Wheaton pushed out to a 16-6 lead after just 5:31 in the opening half, as a 4-of-6 showing from three-point range keyed the start. Coppola was one of three Lyons to hit a trey during that time, canning a pair, while Desravines had two offensive boards and four points, including throwing down an alley-oop pass from Degnan.
The hosts pushed their lead out to as many as 16 points, as a Stehle three-point play made it 35-19 with 4:32 remaining in the half. However, following their hot start from three, the Lyons went 2-of-11 from long range to end the half while missing their final five field-goal tries overall, and the Pride took advantage with a 10-0 run in the final 2:50 to cap the stanza. Coburn netted four of Springfield's points in that stretch, while the run included the visitors' only three of the half after their first eight were off the mark.
By halftime, Wheaton had a 24-20 rebounding advantage against a team that outrebounded it by 21 during the last meeting on January 13. Coppola paced the Lyons with 14 points, while Coburn had 11 at intermission.
Springfield will look to stay hot in conference play when it hosts Coast Guard on Wednesday at 5:30 pm.