Wins generally come in bunches, and that has certainly been the case for Springfield College men’s basketball, as they stand at 13-4 so far this season, good for second in the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference and one of the best records the team has put together in over a decade.
The Pride are 4-2 in the NEWMAC, just two games behind WPI for the conference lead. With just under one month remaining until conference playoffs, the Pride will waste no time attempting to situate themselves at the apex of the conference in their remaining games.
The team has adhered to coach Charlie Brock’s offensive system of a “pass-first” mentality that has led to roughly 58 percent of executed field goals being the result of an assist, and moreover the team has been consistent from field goal territory, as their 50.8 percent percentage sits atop the conference.
Senior Tim Swenson, who is shooting 70.7 percent from the field, is the conference leader in that category, over nine percent more than his closest competitor.
The Pride, however, are far from finished as they are looking to not just garner a high seed come playoff time, but host the tournament as the No. 1 seed.
“I feel like we have been playing well, but we can definitely be playing better,” said sophomore forward Larry Piretra. “We hope to keep getting better and peak come NEWMAC [playoffs] and hopefully NCAA Tournament time.”
On the other hand, Brock, now in his 16th year at Springfield, is looking in the more near future. “I’m not to the conference championship yet,” he stated. “We have a tough stretch right now.”
With their current record, the Pride are on pace for the second-best record the school has seen since the late ‘90s, when they went 26-2 in the 1997-1998 season, winning the Constitution Athletic Tournament after 14 regular season conference wins in a season that ultimately led them all the way to the second round of the NCAA Division III Tournament.
If winning is any indication of putting people in the bleachers, the Pride are certainly a model, packing in an average of 353 fans at Blake Arena, as opposed to the roughly 287 they see when they hit the road, giving them one of the better sixth-man advantages in the conference.
With the remaining month before March Madness ensues, the Pride know that it is not their skills they need to hone in on, but rather the intangibles of the game.
“Our biggest focus is playing as an entire unit for the full 40 minutes of the game. We can not have lapses in the middle of games that causes us to not play up to our potential,” said Piretra.
Brock mirrors his players’ feelings, knowing that there is plenty of work still to be done.
“We’ve got goals, and we’re going to have to do a whole lot to get to them,” added Brock.
The current men’s basketball season has been, and will continue to be one for the ages. Despite occasional falters, the Pride remain confident in their abilities going into crunch time.
“We know we can beat anyone in the country, we just have to show it,” said Piretra.
The Pride are certainly ready to do just that.