The Pride have found success so far this season by doing a good job of protecting the paint on defense, attacking the paint effectively on offense, and winning the rebounding battle.
The team was not able to do any of those three things against Trinity.
Springfield men’s basketball suffered its first loss of the season at the hands of Trinity Thursday night in Blake Arena, 72-54.
“I thought we were pretty soft, if you will,” said Springfield head coach Charlie Brock. “They (Trinity) got nine offensive rebounds in the first half and I think that as time goes on you can get it back, but we didn’t. Offensively we settled, really settled. Screening was not what it needed to be. (Trinity) is a really competitive team and a strong team. The screening has to be there and fighting for territory in the paint has to be there. I just didn’t think we battled the way we needed to.”
Senior captain Brandon Eckles’ minutes were limited in the game due to a case of plantar fasciitis. Deonte Sandifer started in his place.
“We didn’t know the extent to which he could go full speed and I don’t think it was a problem,” said Brock on Eckles’ ailment. “But then again once we got into the second half and things started to get sketchy I didn’t see a point in keeping him in there and have him run up and down when we have four games in a week.”
Unlike the beginning of the second half, the Pride came out hot to start the first half. Jake Ross brought the ball down court on the team’s first possession and drained a three at the top of the key to open up the scoring.
Following Ross’ three pointer, Heath Post pulled up and scored on a three pointer of his own, which he happily celebrated by throwing up three fingers as he made his way past the Springfield bench. Two more consecutive three pointers from Charlie Clay and Andy McNulty forced Trinity to take its first timeout.
After a loud and very stern talking-to from Bantam head coach James Cosgrove, Trinity started to settle into the game and put together a 9-1 run coming out of its timeout.
As the first half wore on, it became more and more apparent that the Pride would have trouble on the boards (Trinity outrebounded the Pride in the first half 24-10). The Bantams also showed that they had the ability to play lockdown defense in the paint and can defend shifty players on the perimeter (Post, who is usually dominant down low, finished with 9 points on 4-12 shooting).
Springfield may have rolled into halftime with a 32-31 lead, but the only thing keeping the team afloat was its ability to hit three pointers down the stretch in the opening half.
After six three pointers in the first half, Springfield was only able to cash in on one in the second half, while Trinity went 8-11 from behind the arc.
The Bantams started the second half on a 6-0 run and never looked back. To make getting back in the game even more difficult, Ross went down with leg cramps five minutes into the half and had to miss some time. Trinity outscored the Pride 41-22 in the second half.
It doesn’t get easier for Springfield moving forward. The Pride will play two more teams who compete in the always competitive NESCAC conference on Saturday against Williams and Tuesday against Amherst.