Springfield, Mass. - Led by the duo of Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) and Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.), the Springfield College men's basketball team defeated Westfield State, 73-62, in non conference action on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena.
The win snapped the Pride's six-game slide as it improved to 3-6, while the Owls fell to 6-5.
Ross poured in a game-high 31 points to go along with nine boards and five assists, while Post turned in an a double double with 22 points and 23 rebounds and chipped in seven blocks. Post, who set a career-high for rebounds and free-throws made after going 14-for-15, was one board shy of the Springfield College single-game record, which was set when David Pugh pulled down 24 against AIC in 1977. Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) added eight points off the bench for a Springfield team that shot 21-for-49 (43%) for the game and made 26-of-33 attempts from the charity stripe.
Westfield State was paced by Marcus Collins (Rindge and Latin/Cambridge, Mass.), who totaled 21 points and eight boards and Jauch Green, Jr. (Cromwell/Hartford, Conn.), who delivered 17 points, 12 boards, and five steals. The Owls forced 21 turnovers in the game and had 16 offensive rebounds, but shot just 27% in the second half as they finished the game taking 22 more shots than the hosts.
Post opened the game with an unconventional four-play play as he connected on a triple while being fouled, but the Owls responded with nine-straight points to take a five-point edge just 2:21 into the contest. Westfield State would push their lead to 24-15 following a free throw from Collins, but a steal and bucket in transition by Daryl Costa (Providence, R.I.) would kickstart a 6-0 Pride burst to trim the Owls lead to 24-21. Westfield State would again push their cushion to 30-22 at the 7:06 mark, but over the next five minutes, Springfield would erupt on a 14-4 surge en route to taking a 36-34 lead after Post knocked down a pair from the line. The Owls would head into the break with a slight 40-38 lead as they turned 10 offensive boards into 10 second-chance points in the opening 20 minutes of play.
Ross would account for the first six points of the second half for the Pride and helped propel a 9-2 run to start the frame as the Pride earned a 47-42 advantage. Westfield again answered back, getting an inside score from Collins with 11:21 left in regulation to take a 52-49 lead. However, over the next six-plus minutes, Springfield put the game away with an 18-2 run, bolstered by 10 points from Post, as the lead ballooned to 67-54 at the 4:41 mark. Westfield would get no closer than eight points as Springfield took the non-conference victory by an 11-point margin, thanks to the Pride holding the Owls to just 22 points in the second half.
Springfield will be back in action in Blake Arena on Saturday, December 29, as the Prde will kick off the Hampton Inn West Springfield/Naismith Classic against nationally-ranked Salisbury at 1:00 pm. Westfield will also be idle until after Christmas, when the Owls host Baruch (N.Y.) College in a non-conference game at the Woodward Center with a 2:00 p.m. matinee.