The Springfield College men's basketball team stormed back from a 23-point first-half deficit to rally past Keene State in overtime, 106-101, in Blake Arena on Tuesday night.
Springfield improves to 2-0 on the season, while Keene State, which appeared in the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament last season, suffered their first loss of the season.
Springfield was led by their senior duo of Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.). Ross put together a sensational stat line of 41 points, 12 rebounds, eight assists, and six steals, while Post recorded a career night with 30 points to go along with 10 boards. Collin Lindsay (East Longmeadow, Mass.) added 15 points on an efficient 7-of-8 from the field, while Robert Baum (West Springfield, Mass.) delivered six assists off the bench. For the game, Springfield shot 39-for-77 (41%), including 18-for-33 in the second half and 6-for-7 in overtime. The Pride scored 26 points off 19 Owls turnovers and had 20 assists on the night.
Keene State was paced by Miguel Prieto, who finished with 21 points and five assists. James Anozie contributed 16 points and eight boards for the Owls, who finished the game shooting 42-for-76 (55%) and owned a 46-35 edge on the class.
Keene State wasted little time seizing the momentum and went up 12-2 at the 15:16 mark following a three-pointer for Edwin Ezedonmwen, forcing a Springfield timeout. The Owls would build their lead to as many as 23 points at 52-29 after a deep triple from Nick Redden. Springfield would end the half on a high note, putting together 10 unanswered points as Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) scored five points on the spurt, while Post capped off the run with a step-through three at the horn, making the score 52-39 at the half.
Springfield pulled within 56-46 at the 16:36 mark of the second half when Lindsay knocked down a triple, only to have the visitors lead balloon back to 80-60 with 9:44 on the clock on a jumper in the paint by Jeff Hunter. However, Ross would hammer a dunk three possessions later for the Pride as he took over down the stretch to force overtime. With 16 points in the final nine-plus minutes, Ross did a little bit of everything, but needed key plays from Costa, Lindsay, Post, and Baum to force overtime. The Owls would miss the front end of a pair of 1-and-1's with 75 seconds on the clock, and Ross would sink a pair free throws tying the game at 86 with 42 ticks remaining. Springfield owned the last possession after a critical defensive rebound by Post with 14 seconds left, but the Pride could not get a shot off as the teams went into overtime.
In the extra period, both teams would trade baskets in the early going as the offenses heated up. At 3:23, Marcus McCarthy would float in a shot to give the Owls a 95-92 lead, but on the next possession, Post would convert on jumper just inside the arc to bring the Pride within one point. With just under two minutes to go, Ross would intercept a pass and tiptoe down the sidelines before putting away a dunk which gave Springfield their first lead of the game at 96-95 with 1:42 to play. The Owls responded with a trifecta from Ezedonmwen, only to have Ross answer with a three-point play on a tough finish in traffic to give Springfield the lead for good. Ross would make five more free throws down the stretch to seal the come-from-behind win.
Springfield will now compete in the Emmanuel Classic over the weekend as they take on Endicott on Friday, November 15 at 7:30 pm.
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