Springfield, Mass. - January 12, 2019 - The Springfield College men's basketball team earned an 86-79 win over visiting Emerson in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) showdown in Blake Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The win boosted the Pride's record to 5-10, 2-2, while Emerson lost for the first time in conference play this sason to drop to 8-7, 3-1. The victory also served as head coach Charlie Brock's 550th of his career, making him the 28th coach in the history of Division III men's basketball to reach that milestone.
Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) put together a remarkable showing as he netted a career-high 42 points in just 30 minutes of action, connecting on 15-of-24 from the floor to go along with five steals and four rebounds. Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) did a little bit of everything in the victory, scoring 16 points, grabbing a game-high 12 boards, handing out a game-best six assists, and collecting three steals. Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) added 10 points as Springfield shot 32-for-63 (51%) and turned 15 Emerson turnovers into 28 points.
Emerson, who earlier this week bested then-No. 8 MIT, shot an impressive 57% in the setback as they had four players score in double figures. Jack O'Connor (Newport, R.I.) paved the way with 24 points and nine boards, while both Geoffrey Gray (Newton, Mass.) and Zach Waterhouse (Hampton, N.H.) scored 16 points. Jarred Houston (Norwood, Mass.) chipped in 11 points, six boards, and five assists.
Ross had a sensational start to the game as he poured in the Pride's first 10 points in helping Springfield take a 10-2 lead just 2:39 into regulation. Emerson would get right back into the contest, using a 8-0 surge capped off by a corner triple from Trevor McLean (Boston, Mass.) at 14:26, to pull the Lions within 15-13. The Pride would respond with eight-straight points of their own, regaining a 23-13 edge following a deep jumper from Jake Jacobson (Branford, Conn.) at 11:00. Another jumper from Post allowed the hosts to take 37-26 lead with 3:44 remaining in the half as Emerson burned a timeout, but out of the break, Emerson responded with an 11-2 burst, fueled by a pair of O'Connor three-pointers to make it a 39-37 game with just 1:52 left in the half. The Pride used a long trifecta from Witter and inside finish by Deonte Sandifer (Pittsfield, Mass.) to take a 44-37 edge at the break as Ross led the way with 17 points in the stanza.
Emerson would make it a 47-46 contest when McLean hauled in an offensive board and scored a putback with 15:26 on the clock, but Springfield would respond with a 9-3 push, as Ross knocked down a jump shot with 12:22 to play to allow the hosts to go up 56-49. With 10:07 remaining, a bucket from Waterhouse made it a 58-53 contest, only to have Springfield get a triple from Ross with 6:50 remaining to give Springfield a 66-57 advantage. Over the next 49 seconds, another O'Connor three-pointer and three free throws from Waterhouse allowed Emerson to get within 66-63. Waterhouse would again be fouled shooting a three, and cash in all three from the charity stripe at the 3:34 mark to trim Springfield's lead to just 69-68. However, Ross would again get free from deep with 2:04 to play to make it a 77-73 contest, and then hit a turnaround four line jumper with the shot clock winding down with 38 seconds remaining for the 79-75 lead. Out of an Emerson timeout, Springfield forced a five-second call on the inbounds play, and Jacobson hit a pair of freebies on a one-and-one situation to give Springfield some breathing room at 81-75. A fastbreak dunk with 16 seconds left by Ross allowed him to reach the 40-point plateau, and he and Post would each hit free throws with under 10 seconds to go to conclude the 86-79 victory.
Springfield will continue conference play next Wednesday when it travels to face nationally-ranked MIT at 6 pm.