Springfield, Mass. - January 4, 2014 - Led by the Most Outstanding Player Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.), the Springfield College men's basketball team toppled Bridgewater State, 80-66, to win the Hampton Inn/West Springfield Naismith Classic in Blake Arena on Saturday afternoon.
For the Pride, it marked the first time since 2010 that it hoisted the Naismith Classic trophy. Springfield now stands at 9-2 on the year, which is it's best start since the 2004-2005 season. The loss drops Bridgewater State to 5-6.
Swenson had an sensational game as he netted a career-high 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting to go along with a game-high 12 rebounds. Teammate Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) was also named to the All-Tournament team after a wonderful all-around effort that featured eight points, three boards, three steals, and three assists.
The Pride had four other players finish the day with double digits in the scoring column, with Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) tallying 13 points, Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) adding 11, and both Nick McKenna (Danvers, Mass.) and Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I. producing 10 points each.
As a team, Springfield shot 49.2% from the floor (30-61), including 16-for-28 in the second half (57.1%). The Pride controlled the glass all afternoon, holding a 38-25 advantage, including a 16-6 cushion on the offensive boards.
For Bridgewater, both Justin Clark (Yarmouth Port, Mass.) and Michael Lofton (Mansfield, Mass.) took home All-Tournament team honors. Clark lead the Bears with 16 points, while Lofton totaled 10 points, four boards, and four blocks. Barrett Murphy (Marshfield, Mass.) provided 10 points off the bench, and Brendan Monteiro (Brockton, Mass.) also chipped in 10 points.
BSU also shot the ball well on the day, going 25-for-51 (49%), including hitting 14-of-24 from the field in the second half.
It was Bridgewater State that had the best of it in the early going, jumping out to a 13-9 lead on a Kyle Gibson (Franklin, Mass.) inside bucket at the 13:59 mark. Over the next 3:54, the Pride put together a 9-0 surge, capped off by a Burke layup that put the hosts up 18-13. Springfield extended its lead to seven twice, the last coming on a Swenson three-point play as he was fouled dunking home an offensive board.
Gibson made it a 31-28 game with 1:27 play, but Swenson was once again key as time expired, tipping in a Springfield miss to make it a 34-28 game at the half.
The Bears opened up the second half on an 11-4 run in the opening 3:31 to regain a 40-39 lead following a trifecta by Brian Grossman (Duxbury, Mass.). Springfield answered right back with a push of their own, using a Martin fast-break bucket to highlight a 8-1 push which forced Bridgewater State into a timeout trailing 46-41.
After a Clark triple cut the lead to two, Martin provided a conventional three-point play, and a three by McKenna on the ensuing possession put the Pride in control with an eight-point lead. The Bears got within five on two occasions, but Springfield hit 10 of 12 from the charity stripe in the final three-plus minutes as it picked up the 14-point win.
Springfield will now gear up for it's New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener against rival WPI in a rematch of last year's conference tournament championship. Tip off in Blake Arena is set for 7:00 pm.
WESLEYAN 77, LYNDON STATE 55
The Wesleyan University men's basketball team beat Lyndon State College, 77-55 in the consolation game of the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic on Saturday in Blake Arena.
Wesleyan improves to 6-5 with the win, while Lyndon State drops to 2-8 with the loss.
Wesleyan's Rashid Epps (Albrightsville, Pa.) and Lyndon State's George Carle (Central Falls, R.I.) were both named to the All-Tournament team. Epps finished the day with 12 points and seven rebounds . In Friday's game he recorded a double-double of 13 rebounds and 12 points. Carle were solid over the two day tournament for Lyndon State. He finished Saturday with a game-high 17 points and eight rebounds. On Friday he posted 10 points.
Lyndon State got on the board first on a three-pointer by Carle, but it was back-and-forth early on, with five lead changes in the first five minutes. The Hornets took an 11-9 lead on another Carle three-pointer 4:35 into the first, but that would be the last time they led. Wesleyan's Jack Mackey (Warwick, R.I.) drained a three of his own just 13 seconds later to take a 12-11 lead.
The Wesleyan defense took over, holding Lyndon State scoreless after Carle's three-pointer for the next 4:32. The Hornets got back on the scoreboard with 10:25 left in the half on a free throw by JoJo Woodruff, trailing 18-12.
Wesleyan took its first double-digit lead on a basket in the paint by Epps with 5:30 to go in the half. The Cardinals held a 27-16 lead at that point. Wesleyan pulled away in the final five minutes, closing out the first half with a 36-20, 16-point lead.
Lyndon State went on a 7-0 run over 2:25 to open up the second half on two baskets by David Johnson (Washington, D.C.) and a three-pointer by Josh Bosworth (East Longmeadow, Mass.). Wesleyan still held a 36-27 lead.
A Mackey three-pointer with 17:35 to go ended the scoreless drought for the Cardinals, pushing the lead back up to 12.
Lyndon State closed the gap though, as Trayvond Barbary (Minotola, N.J.) scored with 15:57 left to play and tacked on a free throw to make it a 39-35 game. Wesleyan went on to score five unanswered points and started to pull away around the halfway mark of the second half. The Cardinals took another double-digit lead at the 9:49 mark and never let it go. Harry Rafferty (Dubuque, Ia.) sunk two free throws to make it a 53-43 game and Wesleyan went on to lead by as much as 23 in the game's final minutes.
Wesleyan's Joe Edmonds (Oklahoma City, Okla.) and BJ Davis (Hamden, Conn.) each finished the day with 13 points. Rafferty tallied 11 points. The Cardinals shot 22-of-46 (47.8%) from the field, 7-of-23 (30.4%) from three and 26-of-28 (92.9%) from the foul line.
Lyndon State's Rob Alers (Central Falls, R.I.) had 10 points on Saturday. The Hornets shot 18-of-53 (34%) from the field, 6-of-23 (26.1%) from three and 13-of-19 (68.4%) from the foul line.
Hampton Inn/West Springfield Naismith Classic All-Tournament Team
Rashid Epps - Wesleyan
George Carle - Lyndon State
Justin Clark - Bridgewater State
Michael Lofton - Bridgewater State
Sean Martin - Springfield
MVP - Tim Swenson - Springfield