SPRINGFIELD — Pressure is an interesting thing — especially in an athletic sense.
How a team competes under it says a lot about what a group’s future might hold. If a group can deal with it well, they have the opportunity to fight through difficult situations and come out on top. Teams that can’t consistently handle pressure, more often than not, find themselves on the wrong side of the scoreboard.
The Pride trailed by a point with 6:24 to go against the Bears on Wednesday night. The possibility of dropping a fifth conference game was mounting and the importance of the next few minutes could be felt in the arena.
Springfield was outscored 12-2 in those final five minutes of play on its way to a fifth conference loss.
“We competed for 35 minutes. We just didn’t compete for 40,” said head coach Charlie Brock. “That is what we have been striving for. We to try create scenarios where we can function under pressure in that scenario. We weren’t able to do it tonight.”
Springfield College men’s basketball was defeated by Coast Guard on Wednesday, 79-68. The Pride’s Jake Ross had 35 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in the effort. Springfield now sits at 7-13 overall on the season — 4-5 in conference play.
Although the Pride were down 45-37 heading into half time, it felt like the team was still playing good basketball.
Trey Witter kept the game within reach throughout the first half by going 4-4 from beyond the arc and 4-7 from the field. He finished the half with 13 points.
The Pride’s Jake Ross did his part, too. He chipped in his almost-automatic 15 points in the half to keep Springfield within striking distance.
Although he only had three points in the game, freshman Colin Lindsay played a solid chunk of minutes in the game.
He is still developing as a scorer, but the first-year guard has been solid at defending on the wing this season — especially the last few games.
“He is a stretch player that can hit the three — that helps,” said Brock on Lindsay. “He has done a great job of getting better defensively and rebounding, still with some glitches, but he has done a better job. That has worked him into the rotation with Heath (Post) and (Kevin) Durkin — kinda rotating the three.”
Starting in the second half, Ross picked up where he left off in the first.
The third-year star came up with stellar defensive plays and consistently finished at the rim while getting fouled. He finished the second half with 20 points.
But then came the final few minutes.
Springfield couldn’t finish at the rim. To make matters worse, the team consistently lost track of shooters in the corners and had issues working around the Bears’ screens.
The Pride tried to throw in a zone defense every few possessions to disrupt Coast Guard, but to no avail.
“(The zone defense) gave them another look,” said Brock. “It had to do with the lineup and who (Coast Guard) had in the game. They had shooters in their lineup.”
Free throws from Coast Guard down the stretch sealed the victory for the Bears, and the tough defeat for the Pride.
Moving forward, Springfield travels to Boston to take on Emerson on Saturday.
“It is going to be a tough game,” said Brock. “They are much better this year. We are going to have to play really well up there. It is a tough place to play.”