By Gage Nutter
Assistant Sports Editor
Most people that play organized basketball go their whole careers without obtaining a double-double. Getting a double-double shows that you were not only effective in one dimension of the game, but two. The Prides Jake Ross picked up his tenth double-double of the season on Wednesday night, and he only needed the first half to do it.
Springfield won a big NEWMAC matchup against Clark, 86-81 in overtime.
The Pride are now 13-11 overall, 7-6 in the NEWMAC conference.
Ross finished with 31 points and 12 rebounds. He credits the stellar performance to a piece of advice that has been instilled in him by his father.
“Sometimes good things happen when you just play hard,” said Ross. “That is something my Dad has always told me and I just have to play like that.”
The game was huge for Springfield in terms of seeding for the NEWMAC tournament, and the players used that for motivation.
“We all knew as a team what was at stake,” said Ross. “It felt like a playoff game coming into it. I think together we just knew we had to win, and it was a battle. Overtime games are fun, and this one was fun to play in.”
The Pride outrebounded Clark 42-30 on the night. More importantly, 11 of those 42 were offensive rebounds.
Springfield head coach Charlie Brock credits the ferocity of his players on the offensive glass as the difference maker in the game.
“Our rebounding was the critical factor in the game,” said Brock. “[Keegan McDonough] was outstanding, as well as [Jake Ross] and [Heath Post]. Without those rebounds I think we are in a different situation.”
At halftime, the Pride coaching staff shared a statistic that opened up the team’s eyes and got them motivated for the second half.
The coaches told us that [Clark] has outrebounded their opponents by over 100,” said Ross. “Hearing that sort of thing really woke us up and made us think ‘why can’t we do that?’, so we went at them a little bit and gave them a taste of their own medicine.”
With seven minutes left to play, Clark had made a run and had claimed the lead. The Pride were now down seven points with their season teetering.
Brock was very animated on the sideline as he gave his team adjustments.
“The thought of ‘locking in’ was brought up, and I did not think we were,” said Brock. “I said that we needed to at that moment, or this is it.”
After that timeout, the Pride locked in.
The team grinded their way back to tie it up and had a chance to win at the buzzer off the hand of Ross, but Clark smothered him and forced a bad shot.
In overtime it was all Pride from start to finish. After clutch free throws down the stretch by Ross, McDonough, and Post, the Pride cemented the victory.
Springfield will wrap up the regular season when they take on Coast Guard on Feb. 18.