Springfield pulls away from UNE in 2nd half for victory
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- The Springfield College men's basketball team closed with 27 of the final 33 points to defeat the University of New England, 72-48, in the opening round of the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic played Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena.
The Pride (8-3) move on to the tournament's title game, which will take place on Sunday against Eastern Connecticut State University (a 75-35 winner over Hunter College earlier in the day). Big Blue (0-7) will face the Hawks in the consolation game at 1 p.m.
With a lead of just three (45-42) and 13 minutes remaining in the contest, Springfield tallied the next 22 points to assume control. Jordan Rote scored six of his second-half eight points during the stretch, while Alex Berthiaume and Robbie Burke each had five in the run.
Berthiaume finished with a game-high 19 points and dished out five assists. Burke recorded a double-double off the bench, ending with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Rote chippped in with 10 points and seven boards, and Ryan Coburn registered seven caroms and four blocks.
For the game, the Pride held sizeable advantages in rebounding (54-28) and points in the paint (52-4). The hosts overcame 23 turnovers by shooting a tidy 53.3. percent (32-for-60) from the field.
Senior Marcus Winn (Austin, Texas) paced the Nor'easters with 14 points -- all coming in the opening 20 minutes. He connected on five of his nine shot attempts, including four of UNE's 11 treys.
First-year Jordan Ferreira (Nantucket, Mass.) added nine, while seniors J.D. Winn (Austin, Texas) and Jarryd Rossignol (Caribou, Maine) had six apiece. The trio combined for the other seven baskets from long range.
After falling behind 8-0 in the early-going, Big Blue rallied to take a 13-12 cushion at the 12:50 mark. Springfield put together an 18-5 spurt to respond and grab the lead for good, but UNE had the deficit back down to five (37-32) by halftime.
The Nor'easters shot 38 percent (11 of 29) from the floor in the first half, but struggled to just 16 percent (5 of 31) in the final stanza.