Williamstown, Mass. - December 7, 2019 - The Springfield College men's basketball team hung on for a 76-75 win at Williams College in non-conference action on Saturday night as Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) became the all-time leading scorer in program history.
Springfield, which was again receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Nationall Poll, improved to 7-0 and is off to its best start since the 1997-98 squad won the first nine games of their season. The victory over the Ephs proved to be the first for Springfield since 2004, and marked the first time that Springfield had won in Williamstown since the 2000 campaign.
Ross finished the game with 26 points and surpassed the previous record of 2,101 that was set by Derek Yvon in 2006. Ross, who accomplished the feat in his 87th career game at Springfield, entered the game with the best scoring average in all of college basketball. Classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) added 23 points, nine boards, and three blocks, and Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) netted 11 points off the bench. The Pride finished the game shooting 26-for-56 (46%), despite being outrebounded by a 44-24 margin. Springfield had eight steals while turning the ball over just seven times, while Williams forced just one takeaway and had 15 turnovers.
The Ephs scored on their first three possessions of the game, building a 9-2 lead 1:53 into the contest. Matt Karpowicz hit a layup while getting fouled, missed the free throw, then grabbed his own offense rebound. He proceeded to hit another and-one, but this time knocked down his try from the charity stripe.
Despite the Ephs' hot start, Post kept the Pride level with the Ephs, converting on four of his first six baskets for nine early points. With 12:38 to play in the first, the Pride held a 20-14 lead, while shooting 4-8 from deep. Six straight points from Karpowicz would even the score at 20 with 9:18 left in the half. Springfield caught fire and answered with a 9-0 run of their own, capped off by a Daryl Costa (Providence, R.I.) three-pointer. The Pride would close the half on a 6-0 burst, thanks to a triple from Noah Cummings (Epsom, N.H.), and a Ross trifecta at the horn, which game the Pride a 41-30 advantage, the first double-digit lead of the game. Six different players made threes for the Pride in the half, as they shot 50% from beyond the arc.
Two three-pointers from Cole Prowitt-Smith cut the Pride's lead to five to begin the second half, but the Pride went on an 12-4 run, prompting a Williams timeout with the score 55-42 and 14:18 remaining following a jumper by Post. After Springfield increased their lead 65-50 on an acrobatic finish by Robert Baum (West Springfield, Mass.), the Ephs stormed back with 14-0 straight points, and thanks to six points from Mickey Babek, the hosts pulled within 65-64 with 6:36 remaining in regulation. With 1:46 on the clock, Prowitt-Smith gave the Ephs their first lead since 14-11 lead with a shot from downtown. The teams exchanged baskets, and Springfield led 74-73 with 1:05 left following a sensational left-hand finish by Ross. Jones tipped in an offensive rebound for the Ephs, regaining a 75-74 lead for Williams with 26 seconds remaining. However, the next time down the court, Post was fouled going to the rim and calmly sank both freebies to put the Pride back on top.
Thanks to a tough defensive stand in which Post closed out hard on a game-winning three-point attempt, Williams was unable to hit a last second shot, and Springfield held on for the win.
Springfield will play its third-straight NESCAC opponent on Tuesday night when it travels to take on Amherst at 7 pm.
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