With three minutes and 36 seconds left to play in the season opener for the men’s basketball team, Robbie Burke stepped to the free-throw line for two shots.
After missing the first, the sophomore transfer out of Colby-Sawyer drained the second to give Springfield a 126-101 lead along the way to a 132-113 win over Castleton State Tuesday night at Blake Arena.
Burke’s free throw gave Springfield a new school scoring record. The previous high was 125 set against Bates College in 1968.
“It was definitely a game to put up a lot of points,” said Burke following the win.
Burke, along with fellow transfer Alex Berthiaume (St. Michael’s), shined in their debuts for the Pride, dropping 22 and 21 points respectively. Berthiaume also recorded a double-double, dishing out 12 assists. Junior Pat Rossi led all scorers with 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
Rossi’s hard-nosed style of play down low earned him a trip to the free throw line eight times. The junior made nine of 16 from the charity stripe.
“It felt good, especially after not knowing what to expect having never played in this league or this division yet,” said Berthiaume. “I think we’ve got a good team, and we’ve been playing really well in practice.
“We’ve got a great group of guys.”
Castleton State’s style of play opened up the game instantly, with both teams running the floor nearly every possession. The Spartans attempted 63 three-point shots in the game and shot just 33 percent from beyond the arc.
Off the misses, Springfield pulled down 45 defensive rebounds and immediately transitioned into their fast break offense.
“We’re not running in game shape for that kind of a track meet just yet,” said Head Coach Charlie Brock.
However, the quick, one-pass and shoot attack from Castleton did give the Pride a chance to improve on one of the areas they have been working on.
“I thought our rebounding was good. We’re trying to get better every day and I thought it was better today, boxing-out wise,” said Brock.
Castleton State, in an unusual style, made full five-man substitutions throughout the game. One set of five would run the full-court press until they looked tired, and then Head Coach Paul Culpo brought in a fresh five.
“I don’t like that style of play they run,” said Brock. “But we can get up and go with anybody. We’ve got to shoot the ball well, but we can go.”
Rossi, Burke and Berthiaume combined for 66 points, while George Adams and Nick Sienkiewicz had 17 points each. Jordan Rote and Evan Christener dropped 14 and 12, respectively, to give the Pride seven scorers in double figures.
NOTEBOOK: Along with breaking the school scoring record, Tuesday’s game shattered the combined score record. The 245 total points scored broke the 220 point mark set twice in 1972 and 1973. It was also the first time Springfield scored over 100 points since 2001 when they dropped 104 in a 104-103 overtime victory over Scranton.
Corey Hanlon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org