By Gage Nutter
Assistant Sports Editor
Springfield College men’s basketball brought their three-game losing skid to a halt Saturday afternoon by beating Westfield State 64 to 62. Freshman Jake Ross picked up his fifth double-double of the season by scoring 25 points and picking up 13 rebounds. The Pride are now 3-3.
The Pride did a much better job this time around than they did against SUNY New Paltz as it pertains to protecting the ball. The team only allowed seven points of off turnovers, compared to their game against New Paltz in which they let up 20 points off of turnovers.
The Pride started the game off hot. Junior captain Andy McNulty scored seven of the Pride’s first 12 points by zigging and zagging into the paint for easy buckets and cashing in from beyond the three-point arch. By halftime, the Pride had shot themselves to a ten point lead.
As the second half started to wind down, Westfield kicked themselves into gear and pulled within two points with 20 seconds to go.
On Westfields last possession, Springfield played skin-tight defense and forced a less than optimal shot from Westfield. 6’7 junior captain Brandon Eckles rose up above the rest and snatched the game-sealing rebound.
The morale within the team could have taken a big hit by losing back to back close games. Head coach Charlie Brock is proud of the team’s perseverance in the face of adversity.
“We have had some games where the outcome could have been different,” said Brock. “But the guys have not shrunken up and put their tails between their legs, they could have, but they haven’t.”
Brock thinks that a close win like this a great step in the right direction, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
“3-3 sounds a lot better than 2-4,” said Brock. “It is good that we had a lead, even though we didn’t keep it the whole game, we have to work towards holding on to our leads and taking it one step at a time, and today was a good step forward.”
There has been a lot of talk on campus about the explosiveness of the freshman on the team. However, there is no better resource for a coach than a steady and reliable veteran. For Pride men’s basketball, that player is McNulty.
McNulty finished the game with 14 points and four assists. He has more than embraced the role of captain this season, but he has not let the captainship change how he plays.
“I try to go about the game the same way,” said McNulty. “I just try my best every game to make sure the guys are all on the same page and to make sure the game is going the way we want it to go.”
Ross has established himself as one of the best players in the NEWMAC conference. He is second in the conference in points per game (20.8), second in rebounds (10.8), and is the only player to average a double-double.
Ross feels like he is a good rebounder, but he also feels that there are some things he needs to improve on.
“I try to get things going by getting rebounds early in the game. I feel like that gets me in the groove,” said Ross. “Something I think I need to work on is my timing and playing within the game, and trying to find the open man when I am being doubled.”
The Pride look to make it two wins in a row by beating Trinity this Wednesday.