Radnor, Pa. - March 3, 2018 - The Springfield College men's basketball team toppled No. 22 Cabrini, 96-88, in the second round of the NCAA Division III Championship on Saturday evening in Nerney Field House on the campus of Cabrini University.
The victory boosts Springfield's record to 20-8, marking the 13th time in program history, and seventh as a Division III program, that the Pride has hit the 20-win plateau. Springfield punched its ticket to the Sweet 16, and for the Pride, this is their second trip to the Sweet 16 in Division III program history, previously advancing to the third round of the national tournament in 2000 during head coach Charlie Brock's first season on the sidelines at Springfield.
Springfield's outside shooting was the difference in the game as the Pride tied a program record with 16 three-point field goals after going 16-of-26 from downtown. Springfield previously pumped in 16 from beyond the arc on January 10 versus Clark.
The Pride's Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) was dynamic in the win as he poured in a game-high 31 points on just 8-of-11 shooting, including all five of his three-point attempts, to go along with nine rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) contributed 19 points and five assists, Cam Earle (South Hadley, Mass.) contribued 17 points, Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) chipped in 11 points and seven rebounds, and Heath Post (Cheshire, Conn.) produced nine points and nine rebounds. Springfield shot 27-for-48 (56%) for the game and held a 40-25 edge on the glass, while also going 26-for-37 from the charity stripe.
Cabrini held a 50-18 advantage on points in the paint and turned 19 Springfield turnovers into 22 points. Keith Blassingale totaled 25 points, Tyheim Monroe delivered 18 points and eight boards, Deryl Bagwell chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds, and Brett Foster added 12 points off the bench. The Cavaliers scored 22 fast-break points on the night.
Springfield buried its first four shots of the game, all from beyond the arc, as it earned an early 12-5 cushion just 2:17 in the contest. After Bagwell knocked down a mid-range jumper to pull the hosts within 14-13 at 14:52, Springfield responded with six-straight points, getting a McNulty triple to push the advantage back to six. The Cavaliers would cut it to 21-19 on an inside finish, but two quick triples, including one from Trey Witter (Unionville, Conn.) in transition, forced the Cavaliers into a timeout at the 9:09 mark facing a 27-19 deficit. Springfield's lead would balloon to 35-23 on another triple from Ross, marking the Pride's ninth trifecta of the half as the hosts whistled for another timeout with 6:51 to go. Cabrini made another push to make it a 36-29 game with under four to play, but Ross got free along the baseline for an inside finish with just over two remaining for the 42-29 advantage. The hosts closed out the half on a 6-2 burst to trim Springfield's lead to 44-35 at the half, a half in which Springfield shot a blistering 14-of-23, including 10-of-12 from deep.
Springfield opened the half with back-to-back triples from Eckles and a tough trifecta from Ross to push things to 55-37 just under three minutes in. Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.) got free for an uncontested dunk at 15:26 to grow the lead to 59-41, but the hosts would storm back as they sped up the game, using a 11-5 run after a deep triple made it 64-52 at 11:30. Springfield maintained a 10-point cushion at 75-65 with 7:41 to play after a pair of freebies by Post, only to have a 7-0 Cabrini run in a little over a minute make it a one possession game. The visitors would stretch its lead back to 84-77 after Post slashed through the lane to hammer home a dunk, but Blassingale would pull up for a three in transition at 3:07 to close with 84-82. McNulty would respond hitting five critical free throws to give the Pride some breathing room, and despite Cabrini pulling within three once more, Springfield drilled 7-of-8 from the line to seal the victory.