Springfield, Mass. - November 8, 2019 - The Springfield College men's basketball team battled their way to a 90-80 win over cross-town foe Western New England in front of 1,200 fans in Blake Arena on Friday night.
It marked the ninth-straight season that Springfield opened up the year with a win as it improved to 1-0, while the Golden Bears dropped to 0-1.
Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) were impressive in their senior debuts as Ross netted a game-high 34 points to go along with five rebounds, five assists, and four steals, while Post totaled 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting and 14 boards. Jake Jacobson (Branford, Conn.) tallied nine points for Springfield, which finished the game shooting 28-for-54 (51.9%), including a remarkable 14-for-21 (66.7%) in the second half. The Pride drilled 12-of-25 attempts from beyond the arc and went 22-for-26 from the charity stripe, with Ross knocking down all 13 of his free-throw bids.
For Western New England, four players scored in double figures, with Tim Reilly producing a team-best 20 points. Both Mike McGuire and Alex Sikorski each scored 15 points and Zach Tavitian registered 14 points and seven rebounds before fouling out. The Golden Bears held a 34-22 edge for points in the paint and shot 31-for-58 (53.4%) for the contest.
Springfield missed its first six shots as the visitors jumped out to a 15-6 lead at the 13:39 mark when Reilly finished inside. The Pride would answer back with a 15-7 surge of their own to pull within 22-21 following a triple from Post with 9:44 on the clock, only to have WNE benefit from a pair of trifectas from Reilly to take their largest lead of the game, 32-21, with 7:03 to play. However, Ross started to find his offensive rhythm and poured in 12 points in the final 4:15 of the half to trim the Golden Bears lead to 44-42 heading into the half.
Jacobson canned a corner three a minute into the second half to give Springfield its first lead of the night, and the teams would eventually be tied twice in the half, the last coming at 57-57 with 12:09 on the clock when Sikorski knocked down on a jumper. The Pride would use a runner in the lane by Robert Baum (West Springfield, Mass.) to kickstart an 8-0 push, and a three-point play by Ross pushed Springfield's lead to 71-63 at the 6:57 mark. Western New England made one final run, getting within 72-71 when McGuire buried a three-pointer just over 90 seconds later. However, Post responded with a critical three-pointer and Jacobson knocked down a huge step back jumper as the Pride's lead grew to 77-71 with 4:23 on the clock. The hosts would coast from there, never allowing WNE closer than seven points en route to the non-conference win.
Springfield will hit the courts again on Tuesday when it hosts Keene State at 7:30 pm.
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