SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 16, 2008) – Despite a pair of 15-point performances from Jamaal Gibbs (Norwalk, Conn.) and Ryan Blackmon (Stamford, Conn.), the Springfield College men’s basketball team dropped a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest to visiting Clark, 66-64, Wednesday evening in Blake Arena.
The loss drops the Pride to 5-9, 0-2 in conference play while the Cougars improve to 8-6, 3-0.
The Pride jumped out to an early 12-5 lead after a Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) layup at the 15:10 mark. An 11-4 spurt by the Cougars capped off by a deep three-pointer by D.J. Brinn knotted the game at 16 just three minutes later. From there, the game went back and forth with six lead changes until the Cougars opened up a 10-0 run over a 3:01 span to own an 11-point advantage. Brinn tallied five points in the spurt to pace Clark. Springfield closed out the final 1:33 on a 6-0 run to claw back within five, 41-36, heading into the locker room.
The Cougars led throughout the second half by as many as 10 until a fast break layup by Gibbs cut the lead to four with 5:47 remaining. Playing smart defense down the stretch, a pair of Gibbs free throws with 19 seconds remaining cut the lead to two. After a Pride foul, Chris Lopiano hit the back end of two free throws to extend the lead to three. A missed trifecta by Blackmon and another foul by the Pride sent Mark Alexander to the line. Alexander hit just one to make the game a two-possession contest with four seconds to play. Gibbs hit a layup as time expired to bring the final score to 66-64.
Gibbs ended the night with 15 points, six rebounds, four assists, and four steals while Blackmon added 15 points and four assists. Gregg Daly (Farmington, Conn.) was the only other member of the Pride in double figures as he tallied 11 points to go along with six boards. The Pride struggled from downtown, going just 3-of-16, including 0-for-10 in the second half.
Pat Landers netted a game-high 17 points and grabbed 10 boards to lead Clark while Peter Normandin added 13 points. A constant deep-threat all game, the Cougars connected on 10 three-pointers in the game, including nine in the first half.
Springfield returns to action on Saturday afternoon when it travels to take on MIT in NEWMAC action. Tip-off is slated for 2:00 pm.