Through five games this season, the Springfield College Men’s basketball team has not dropped a game. However, after an emotional win against Keene State on Tuesday, the Pride don’t have the luxury of taking it easy.
Friday marks the tip-off for the Pioneer Valley Classic hosted at Springfield College in Blake Arena. It also marks the tip-off for arguably Springfield’s toughest opponent all year.
Amherst College, ranked third in the country, comes to Blake Arena this weekend looking to hand the Pride their first loss of the season Friday at 5:30 p.m.
In last year’s tilt, the Pride played a tough first half and held a slim 35-34 advantage at the break. However, Amherst rolled in the second half and cruised to a 83-60 win.
Matt Cavalieri (’11) led the Pride with 20 points. Senior Ryan Coburn chipped in 13 of his own.
The Pride are averaging 92.4 ppg and giving up 77 this season. Transfers Alex Berthiaume and Robbie Burke (8.8 ppg) have settled in nicely along with freshman stand outs Josh Altman (5.2 ppg) and Nick Sienkiewicz (11.4 ppg).
Berthiaume leads his team in scoring, averaging 17.2 ppg. Seniors Coburn and Jordan Rote have also played well through the first five games. Coburn really got it going for the first time Tuesday against Keene State when he dropped 15 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.
Rote is coming off his two best offensive career performances, dropping 22 and 23, respectively, in his last two games.
Springfield has scorers and can beat pressure that teams throw at them. If they can control the boards an limit Amherst to one shot each possession, taking down the number three seed is doable.
Corey Hanlon may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org