Hartford, Conn. - December 4, 2013 - The Springfield College men's basketball team escaped with an 81-77 overtime victory at Trinity College in non-conference action on Wednesday night. Sophomore Alex Garstka (Westfield, Mass.) poured in a career-best 22 points in the win for the Pride.
Springfield improves to 5-1 win the win as it played its second overtime game in its last three outings. The loss sets the Bantams back to 4-3 this year.
Garstka continued to provide a great offensive spark off the bench this season as he scored in double figures for the fifth-straight contest en route to a game-high 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) added 16 points and Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, seven assists, and four steals.
Tim Swenson (Millbury, Mass.) chipped in 10 points and eight boards for the Pride, which finished the night going 30-for-61 from the field (49.2%) while being credited with 22 assists. Springfield held a large disparity from the free-throw line, going 14-for-21, compared to a 2-for-4 performance at the stripe by Trinity.
Springfield led by as many as 17 points in the first half, following a Garstka bucket with 7:19 left, and went into the half with a 13-point cushion as five different players had at least five points for the Pride.
A free throw by Martin inside the opening minute of the second half allowed Springfield to take a 14-point advantage with the score 41-27. However, the Bantams provided foreshadowing for the end of the game as they poured on 10 consecutive points to make it a four-point game at the 17:13 mark.
The Pride answered right back, pushing its lead to 70-58 on a Sienkiewicz jumper with 4:40 to play and Springfield seemingly was in control to cruise to the non-conference win. Yet over the next 2:58, it was all Trinity, as a 12-0 burst evened the game at 70 and sent the contest into overtime.
After Trinity buried a three-pointer to start the extra session, the Pride rattled off an 11-1 spurt and held on for the 81-77 victory. Garstka had six of Springfield's 11 points in the five-minute overtime period.
Trinity shot 65.4 percent from the field in the second half (17-26) and made eight of its tries from long range after halftime, finishing 30-for-62 from the field and 15-for-30 from beyond the arc for the game, but made two foul shots over 45 minutes in just four attempts. Springfield committed only four turnovers, while the Bantams held a 35-30 rebounding edge and blocked eight shots.
Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) paced Trinity with 20 points, making eight of nine shots from the field, and added five rebounds, four assists, and two blocks, while George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) added 13 points, six boards, and three blocks, and sophomore guard Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.) notched 12 points and five assists off the bench.
The Pride will next play its second nationally-ranked team of the season when it travels to square off with seventh-ranked Williams on Saturday at 4:00 pm.