Men's Basketball Claims Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic With Win Over No. 12 Wesleyan, 72-67

Springfield, Mass. - December 31, 2017 - The Springfield College men's basketball team captured the 2017 Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic on Sunday evening in Blake Arena as it knocked off previously unbeaten Wesleyan University, 72-67.

Springfield improved to 6-5 with the win, while the Cardinals, who were ranked 12th nationally in the most recent Top 25 Poll, drop to 9-1.  This is the sixth-straight season that Springfield has defeated a nationally-ranked team, a stretch that has included eight wins over teams ranked in the top 15.

Tonight's win marked the 529th in the career of head coach Charlie Brock, but the 300th on the sidelines at Springfield College, as he became just the second coach in the history of the program to reach the 300-win milestone while on Alden Street.

Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Classic as he poured in a game-high 26 points to go along with 12 rebounds and four assists.  Classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) joined Ross on the All-Tournament Team with 14 points and 12 rebounds.  Cam Earle (South Hadley, Mass.) contribued 14 points off the bench, going 4-for-4 from beyond the arc and Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) chipped in 11 points.  After shooting just 5-for-29 (17%) in the first half, Springfield was incredible in the second half, shooting 15-for-28 (54%), including a 10-17 (59%) performance from beyond the arc.

Wesleyan controlled the paint all night, outscoring the hosts, 40-14, and holding a 47-38 edge on the glass.  Both Jordan Bonner and Jordan Sears earned All-Tournament Team honors, with Bonner goiner for 19 points and seven boards and Sears totaling 17 points, seven rebounds, and six blocks.  

Springfield struggled in the early going against Wesleyan's length, missing their 10 shots, as the visitors jumped out to a 10-0 lead just over six minutes into the contest. The Pride's first bucket of the game came at the 11:00 mark when McNulty drilled a straightaway triple, which kickstarted a 6-0 burst to pull the hosts within 14-9.  After Wesleyan's lead grew to 22-11 on a bucket in transition with 6:33 remaining, Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) answered with a corner three to bring the Pride within eight.   The Cardinals responded with an 8-2 run to push its advantage to 30-16 following a Sears layup with less than four minutes to play and would take a 34-23 cushion into the half.

Wesleyan used the momentum of a trio of dunks in the opening four-plus minutes of the second half to surge out to 48-33 lead.  However, a triple from Post and floater by McNulty fueled a 16-1 run over the next 2:50, with a Ross three-pointer making it a 50-49 contest at the 12:54 mark.  Springfield would eventually take its first lead of the game at 58-56 on a McNulty finish in the lane with 6:23 remaining.  The Pride continued to produce from deep, getting a pair of three-pointers from Ross and another from Earle on three-straight possessions to go up 68-61 at the 4:17 mark.  Wesleyan would get within 68-65 on a Nathan Krill free throw with 58 seconds remaining, but the Pride hit 4-of-6 from the charity stripe down the stretch to hold on for the victory in Springfield's non-conference finale. 

Springfield will open up New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Wednesday night when it travels to face the defending Division III national champions, Babson College, for a 7 pm tilt. 

Fitchburg State 80, Thomas (ME) 78 -- Consolation Game

Freshman guard Anthony Allen (East Longmeadow, Mass.) and senior guard Joshua Bosworth (Springfield, Mass.) combined for 33 points to lead the Fitchburg State men's basketball team to a 80-78 win over Thomas College in the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic Consolation Game on Sunday evening in Blake Arena.

With the win, the Falcons improve to 4-7 overall, while Thomas levels out a 5-5 on the year. For their efforts over the weekend, Bosworth and Thomas' Carlos Gonzalez (Kennebunk, Maine) were named to the All-Tournament Team.

Fitchburg State shot 29-of-63 (46.0%) in the victory, while the Terriers were 33-of-64 (51.6%) shooting in the setback. Thomas also held a 44-30 advantage on the glass over 40 minutes of play.

Fitchburg State came out in a zone defense early in the game and Mackinnon took full advantage as he registered the first 11 points of the contest, which included a pair of three-pointers and five free throws to spark a 15-0 run for the Terriers over the first 3:30 of the contest. From there, a three-pointer from Charles Doss (Fitchburg, Mass.) pulled the Falcons to within 10, facing a 17-7 deficit, before John Morgan (Sanford, Maine) converted a lay-up at the 14:55 mark to make it 19-7, Thomas. The Falcons would then go on a 10-0 run over the next 3:49, capped by a lay-up from Charlie Ollis (Mobile, Ala.) to pull Fitchburg State to within a pair, before Matt Allen (Barre, Vt.) stopped the run with a triple to make it 22-17, Terriers, with 9:48 on the clock.

Fitchburg State's Jonathan Perez (Lowell, Mass.) gave the Falcons their first lead of the game at the 8:02 mark after the junior converted a lay-up, before a three-pointer from Brandon Harris (San Bernardino, Calif.), followed by a free throw from Allen, which gave the Falcons a 34-28 lead with 2:46 remaining in the half. After Bosworth made it an eight-point game with 2:28 to play, Gonzalez and Demetris Webster (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) scored on ensuing possessions to cut the Terriers' deficit to four at the half, trailing 36-32.

Opening the second half of play, Nicholas Tracy (Indianapolis, Ind.) executed a three-point play and Bosworth followed with a lay-up to make it 42-35, but the Terriers would go on a 8-0 run, capped by back-to-back lay-ups from Morgan to make it 43-42, Thomas, with 16:20 to play. From there the Falcons would wrestle the lead back, taking a four-point advantage following a jumper from Tyrell St. John (Stamford, Conn.) to make it 53-49, Fitchburg State, before the Terriers evened the score at 53 apiece on a lay-up from Willie Grant (Philadelphia, Pa.) with 11:21 to play. 

With 9:02 on the clock, three free throws from Allen gave the Falcons a 58-57 lead, before Thomas made it 61-60 on a lay-up from Grant with 7:53 to play. Both sides would trade leads until a lay-up from Tracy, followed by a gritty finish from Bosworth gave Fitchburg State a 74-71 lead with 2:52 to play. Even at 77 apiece with under a minute to play Troy DaCosta (Cambridge, Mass.) hit a free throw to give the Falcons a 78-77 lead, before Bosworth sealed the win at the line. 


All Tournament Team 

Jake Ross - Springfield (MVP)
Heath Post - Springfield 
Jordan Sears - Wesleyan
Jordan Bonner - Wesleyan
Carlos Gonzalez - Thomas
Josh Bosworth - Fitchburg State