SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – February 6, 2008 – Senior Jamaal Gibbs (Norwalk, Conn.) converted a conventional three-point play with two seconds left on the clock to lift the Springfield College men's basketball team to a thrilling 61-60 victory over MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Wednesday night at Blake Arena.
With the win, the Pride improves to 8-11 overall, 3-4 in league play, while the Engineers drop to 12-9, 3-5.
Gibbs, who hit a free-throw with two seconds left last season at MIT to win the game, 57-56, once again provided a clutch performance against the Engineers.
After the Engineers were called for a shot-clock violation with 16 seconds remaining in the game, Gibbs took the ball from the top of the key, drove to his left and finished in the lane as he was fouled. The senior point guard calmly sank the go-ahead free throw to put the Pride up by one with two seconds left in regulation. On the ensuing inbounds play after an SC timeout, Gibbs deflected the MIT pass out of the arms of Daniel McCue at midcourt to seal the victory.
The Pride, which led by as many as eight in the second half, withheld a late surge from the Engineers. Billy Johnson and McCue each hit big triples in the final three minutes of action to pull MIT right back into the game, with McCue's giving MIT a two-point advantage with 1:27 left to play.
MIT took control of the game early, opening up a nine-point lead, 21-12, after a McCue jumper with 8:45 remaining in the first half. However, from there the Pride rattled off a 13-4 run over the next 8:07 to knot the game at 25. In the run, freshman Chaz Burrell (Idaho Springs, Colo.) hit a clutch trifecta, which proved to be the Pride's only three of the game. A lay-up down low by John Strawson (Torrington, Conn.) with six seconds remaining tied the game at 27 heading into the locker room.
Strawson finished with 14 points to lead the way for the Pride in the scoring column while Gregg Daly (Farmington, Conn.) finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks in the win. Gibbs finished with 11 points and four assists while Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y) chipped in with 10 points, seven rebounds, and four assists. Springfield got solid production off its bench as Darryl Smith (Patchogue, N.Y.) finished with three points and three rebounds, while Burrell, in his first action of the season, finished with five points.
McCue finished with a career-best 18 points while Will Mroz added 16 points, connecting on four three-pointers. Hamidou Soumare finished with 11 points and eight rebounds, and Billy Johnson chipped in with 14 points. The Engineers finished with nine three-pointers compared to just one for Springfield. The Engineers were without their leading scorer and the top-point scorer in the conference , Jimmy Bartolotta, who sat out of the game with several nagging injuries.
Springfield returns to action on Saturday when it travels to square off against Clark. Tip-off is slated for 1:00 pm.