Charlie Brock’s decision to move Alex Berthiaume to shooting guard is paying dividends for the men’s basketball game.
Without the pressure of having to run the offense, Berthiaume has been freed up to focus on one aspect of his game: scoring.
In Wednesday night’s 72-63 win over Coast Guard (7-11, 1-7) in Blake Arena, Berthiaume led all scorers with 28 points. Although Berthiaume was leading the team in scoring while running the point, he admitted that less pressure has improved his scoring.
“Ever since coach moved Sean [Martin] to point guard, seven or eight games ago, I moved to the two,” said Berthiaume.
“I’m not focused so much on running the team anymore, because Sean has those duties. I’m kind of focused on trying to get the team going on offense and giving any help I can on that end.”
Right away Wednesday, Berthiaume got going. The Springfield, Mass. native scored 10 of Springfield’s first 12 and had 17 in the first half, leading the Pride (14-6, 6-2) to a 34-28 advantage at half.
Despite shooting just 12-of-32 from the floor in the first half, the Pride relied heavily on defense to stay in the game. Springfield held Coast Guard to just 11-for-27 in the first half.
“I think our defense has been stalwart all year,” said Brock following the win. “We’ve got a low defensive field goal percentage, so that’s been helpful keeping in games when other things don’t quite go your way.”
The Pride turned that good defense into offense with the game tied at 40 in the second half.
Jordan Rote pulled down a rebound and threw a full court pass to Sean Martin. The pass was slightly long, but Martin caught the ball, hung in the air while going out of bounds and found Berthiaume under the hoop for the bucket and the foul. The junior guard converted on the old-fashion three-point play, giving the Pride a 43-40 lead.
Along with Berthiaume, Rote finished with 17 points and senior Ryan Coburn added 11 to go along with six blocks, none bigger than one on Coast Guard’s Kevin Sowers with under 90 seconds to play.
With the win, Springfield can forget about a heartbreaking loss at Babson last Saturday and focus their energy on MIT. The Engineers (18-1, 6-1) are ranked fifth in the nation and are led by Noel Hollingsworth (18.1 PPG) and Jamie Karraker (15.5).
“People like Ryan [Coburn] and Evan [Christner] have been playing here for four years, and they haven’t beaten MIT once,” said Rote. “We’re coming for MIT’s head.”
Tip off for Saturday’s game is 2 p.m. at Blake Arena.
Notes: This Saturday Springfield hosts MIT at 2 p.m. in a battle of the top two teams in the NEWMAC. It is also a battle between the top two scorers in the conference. Berthiaume leads all scorers with 18.4 points per game, while Noel Hollingsworth is just behind at 18.1 a contest. It continues to be a tough string of games as Springfield hosts city-rival Western New England 7 p.m. on Monday night. The Pride have won each of the last two seasons against the Golden Bears.