January 5, 2013

Pride Holds Off Bears in NEWMAC Opener

SPRINGFIELD, Mass.--Springfield grinded out a 62-50 win over visiting Coast Guard in its New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opener on Saturday afternoon in Blake Arena.

Springfield improved to 10-4, 1-0 in league play, while the Bears dropped to 1-9, 0-1.

Jordan Rote led all scorers with 16 points to go along with five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and two blocks. Alex Berthiaume added 14 points, and Robbie Burke tallied 11 points and seven boards. The Pride shot just 22-for-59 for the game (37.3%), but scored 14 points off 16 Coast Guard turnovers.

Greg Marshall and Devonte Weems each recorded 13 points in the loss for the Bears. David Anderson had a strong game off the bench, netting nine points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds. The 13 points for Weems was a season-high.

Springfield raced out to an early 10-4 lead on a Berthiuame bucket in transition at the 15:58 mark, forcing Coast Guard into a timeout. However, the Bears battled back to get within one, as Weems connected on a pair from the stripe to make it an 11-10 ball game with 14:10 on the clock.

The Pride struggled to find any offensive rhythm for much of the opening half until it hit its stride in the final 2:46. The Pride put together a 9-3 burst, highlighted by five points from Sean Martin, to head into the locker room with a 31-22 advantage.

In the first half, despite shooting just 12-for-25, the Pride snagged 11 offensive rebounds which resulted in 12 second-chance points. The Bears connected on just 8-of-21 from the field, but used its zone defense to keep the Pride at bay.

Coast Guard stormed out of the second half on a 14-6 run to get with two at 37-35 following an Anderson foul-line jumper at the 14:35 mark. Springfield responded with six unanswered points, with Rote snagging a steal and going the distance to put the hosts up 43-35 with 10:53 to play.

Anderson would score down low at the 8:43 mark to make it a six-point game, but that would be as close as the visitors would get. Josh Altman canned a three from the corner that capped off an 11-4 run, giving the Pride a 13-point cushion with just over three minutes left.

The Bears continued to battle, drilling three three-pointers down the stretch, but Springfield held on for the conference win.

"I was very happy with our play today," said Coast Guard head coach Kevin Jaskiewicz. "We competed on every possession and we executed on offense. Our seniors gave us great leadership."

Coast Guard returns to action on Tuesday night when the Bears host WPI at 7:30 p.m.

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