By Danny Priest
On Tuesday night inside of Blake Arena the Springfield College Pride men’s basketball team returned to action after nearly two weeks off when they played host to the Trinity College Bantams.
Senior Jake Ross entered the night 24 points away from tying Derek Yvon (‘06) for the school record of most points scored in a career at Springfield College at 2,101 points. All eyes were on Ross, but Trinity had different ideas and held the Northampton, Mass. native to a season low 19 points.
Still, the Pride were able to overcome that behind a big time performance from Heath Post (19 points, 13 rebounds) and timely shot making from their underclassmen to pick up a 67-62 win and move to 6-0 on a season for the first time since 1997-1998.
In the first half, the Pride struggled to put the ball in the net. The team shot just 34.5 percent from the field and Ross was held to just 1-8 shooting from the field.
While most of the team struggled, Post got hot and stayed hot for the course of the game. In the first half he kept the Pride a float scoring nine points on 4-7 shooting.
Post kept Springfield in the game and delivered big shots down the stretch. With just over 10 minutes to play in the second half Post drilled a contested three from straightaway while we being fouled.
The shot ignited a scream from Post, a one point lead for the Pride, and it got Blake Arena on their feet. That play was a window into the big night for Post, and without him the Pride may not have found themselves on top at the end.
After the game, Post deflected credit to his teammates and Trinity’s defense.
“We got to credit them for their defense. They played great defense, they did a really good job face guarding us and (we) tried to take the best possible shots we could within the offense and some of them went in and some of them didn’t. We came out with a W, so I can’t really say much about it,” he said.
Springfield Coach Charlie Brock was a bit more candid about Post’s contributions on the night. “Heath did a great job, Heath really picked us up when Jake wasn’t in which is the kind of thing we need from guys,” he said.
As far as guy’s stepping up, the Pride got timely shots from a few more of their guys. First-year Noah Cummings made a tough driving layup with 3:20 to go in the game to extend Springfield’s lead to 58-55.
That was followed by a Jake Ross three-pointer and then on the next possession sophomore Collin Lindsay put in a long two pointer to extend the Springfield lead to 63-57.
The clutch buckets, especially from underclassmen, was a welcome sign for the Pride.
“The more patient we are the better job we do with spreading the wealth if you will,” said Brock. “I think that’s a big factor and it’s going to make a big difference for us going through the season and over this next couple weeks with the stretch that we have balanced scoring and get guy’s to kick in when Jake and Heath are maybe not either in the game or it’s not all going to them. They did a great job of face guarding Jake tonight and we were able to overcome it.”
One other component of the win for Springfield was their tough defense. In the first 12 minutes of the second half, the Pride held Trinity to just eight points total.
On the night Springfield tallied 7 blocks, 7 steals, they held Trinity to only eight free throw attempts, and lowered their shooting percentage from the field to 35.7 percent in the second half, compared to 53.3 percent in the first half.
“Second half I thought we did a much better job. The percentages bared out, their shooting percentage was way too high with fairly easy shots made in the first half and they had to work a lot harder in the second,” Brock said. “They missed some and we did a decent job on the boards to keep them off the glass, so I thought that was a big factor,” he added.
Springfield will now head out on the road to try and remain undefeated when they play Williams on Saturday. Ross will need five points to tie Yvon’s mark, and six points to break it and become the all-time leading scorer in Springfield College history.