Springfield College (20-8) lost to the University of Mary Washington Eagles (24-5), 78-58 in the first round of the NCAA Championship Tournament on Friday, March 7. The game was played on the campus of Randolph Mason College in Ashland, Va., which was less than an hour from Mary Washington’s campus.
The Eagles began the game on a 7-0 run, but the Pride battled back to take a 10-9 lead. The first half continued to go back-and-forth with four lead changes. The Pride kept it close for most of the second half, but the Eagles pulled away in the final four minutes to go up big and win by 20.
Turnovers hurt the Pride the most, as they gave the Eagles the ball 19 times while the Eagles returned the favor only six times.
“The turnovers we had in the first half really put us behind the eight ball,” Springfield College coach Charlie Brock said. “But in the end at that level of competition, you can’t give up 12 possessions without a shot and hope to be successful. You then are fighting a constant uphill battle.”
Springfield College shot 41.2 percent from the field, while Mary Washington shot 46.3 percent.
Pride senior Sean Martin finished his Springfield College career strong with two team-highs in points and assists with 16 and nine, respectively, while playing a total of 38 minutes.
Fellow senior Robbie Burke ended his career with seven points and five rebounds.
Freshman Nick McKenna made a splash by playing 20 minutes off the bench and posting eight points.
“I thought it was pretty awesome for me personally to get a lot of playing time this year,” McKenna said. “I think that this year’s successes and failures have given me the experience needed to continue to fight for NEWMAC Championships over my career here. Playing in an NCAA Tournament game was huge for my confidence as a player going into next year, too.”
Four NEWMAC teams received a bid to the tournament – Springfield, WPI, Babson and MIT – and all four were ousted in the first round.
The Eagles had three players finish with double-digit point totals. Among them was senior Bradley Riester, who had a game-high 22 points. Riester was 6-of-8 from 3-point range. He also tallied five rebounds in 39 minutes of play.
“Bradley [Riester] seems to be our catalyst offensively, and this past weekend was no different,” Mary Washington coach Roderick Wood said. “When he’s on from outside we are very hard to defend. I hope we can continue the good play for another weekend. Playing such great teams as Springfield has helped us prepare for the next round.”
The Eagles will play Virginia Wesleyan in the third round on Saturday after a 77-49 win against DeSales University on Saturday.