By Gage Nutter
Assistant Sports Editor
The Pride improved to 3-4 in conference play and 9-9 overall on Wednesday night as they defeated the Emerson Lions 77-60. Trey Witter had a breakout game and finished with 21 points, followed by Andy McNulty and Jake Ross with 15 and 14 respectively.
This game was a must-win for the teetering Pride. Riding high after its electric 71-70 win over Amherst College on Dec. 14, the squad went off and put three consecutive wins together. However, after the team’s 73-68 loss on Jan. 7 to the newly crowned No. 1 team in the country, Babson College, the team had gone 1-3 since that game and saw themselves slip down the NEWMAC standings.
A win against Emerson was just what the team needed.
“It’s good to be home,” said Pride head coach Charlie Brock. “I feel like the guys did a good job these last few days in practice preparing to go against Emerson’s zone defense.”
From the initial tip-off, it was obvious how the Lions were going to defend Springfield’s accolade accumulating freshman, Jake Ross. From the second Ross touched the ball he was getting aggressively double teamed. Ross still finished with 15 points, but was checked on the defensive end for most of the night.
This gave other players the opportunity to step up and supplement some offense. One of those players was freshman Trey Witter.
Witter played with the poise of a seasoned veteran throughout the game. He showed tremendous confidence in his three-point shooting ability, and made a few three’s that were well beyond the three-point line throughout the night that really put the Pride over the hill.
Witter was quick to deflect any praise toward himself and explained that his success was all because of his teammates.
“My teammates did a really good job of getting me the ball in the right places,” he said. “We worked hard to prepare for Emerson’s defense these past few days in practice and it paid off.”
The Pride now have a tremendously difficult four game stretch in front of them. They will take on WPI, MIT, Wheaton, and Babson, who have a collective record of 50-28.
Brock feels like his team is more than ready for the challenge, they just need a little bit of fine tuning.
“We played the difficult schedule that we did in the beginning of the season to be prepared for a stretch like this,” he said. “We just need to diminish the situations that we find ourselves in sometimes that keep us from winning, like committing too many fouls or turnovers.”
The Pride hope to begin that stretch with a step in the right direction on Saturday when they take on WPI.
Gage can be reached on Twitter at @GageNutter