Springfield, Mass. - February 24, 2016 - Emerson Men's Basketball advances to the semifinal round of the New England Women's and Men's Atheltic Conference Championship as they defeated the hosting Sprinfield College Pride, 72-63, in Blake Arena in the NEWMAC Championship Quarterfinals.
With the loss, Springfield, which was seeded fourth, closes its season at 11-15, while fifth seeded Emerson improves to 11-15 and will advance to take on top-seed and defending champion Babson, on Saturday for a 12:00 p.m. contest. The Pride was 20-of-47 (42.6%) from the floor in the defeat, while Emerson shot 31-for-62 (50%) and held a 35-29 advantage on the glass, including a 14-8 edge in offensive rebounds.
Emerson, senior Michael Thorpe (Newton, Mass.) posted 14 points and six assists, while Tyson Hallowell (Lincoln, Mass.) and Austin Pinckney (Miami, Fla.) notched 11 points apiece. Pinckney produced the game's only double double, as the senior also tallied a game-high 10 rebounds.
Springfield was led by 31 combined points from graduate student Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.) and senior Josh Downes (East Sandwich, Mass.), as Altman posted a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds, while Downes registered 13, three steals and two assists. Additionally, Larry Piretra (Oakland, N.J.) posted nine points with six boards in the loss.
Springfield took an early 8-6 advantage over the Lions, benefitting from a dunk by freshman Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.), before Altman and Steven Young (Hanson, Mass.) converted four-straight free-throws to take a 16-12 lead with under 12 minutes left in the half.
Following Young's free-throws, Michael Sheng (Altadena, Calif.) answered with a jumper created off of a steal from Geoffrey Gray (Newton, Mass.), before the Pride scored seven-straight points, capped by a three from Stanley Davis (Boston, Mass.) to make it 23-14, Springfield.
Emerson would go on a 6-0 run of its own, including a lay-up from Brian Hurley (South Boston, Mass.) to make it a three-point game, before evening the score at 27 when Thorpe buried a corner three with 3:51 left in the half.
Down two, sophomore Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) came up with a pick-pocket steal on Thorpe before finding Altman in transition for a basket that knotted the game at 29 apiece. Thorpe then answered with two points of his own to give the Lions a 33-31 advantage with eight seconds on the clock. On the ensuing Springfield possession, Quinn McKenna (Litchfield, Mass.) was fouled on his last-second jumper, and converted the free-throws to even the score at 33 at half.
Springfield opened the second half with three-straight jumpers, two from Altman, to take a 39-33 lead over the Lions, before the Pride opened up a 44-37 lead following a three-pointer from Piretra.
Clinging to a 46-43 lead midway through the second stanza, Piretra came up with a pair of offensive rebounds, before knocking down a two free-throws to push Springfield's lead to five, before a baseline jumper from Gray pulled Emerson even at 48 with under 8:30 left in the game.
Knotted at 54, Pinckney drilled a three-pointer, before Altman answered with a deep two, but a lay-up from Thorpe, followed by a three-point play from the senior gave Emerson a 62-58 lead with 2:50 to go.
Following a pair of free-throws from McNulty, Emerson went on a crucial 9-0 run, capped by a pair of free throws from Sean Duffy (Berwyn, Pa.) to take a 71-60 grasp on the contest, sealing the victory.
This is the third year that Emerson College has been part of the NEWMAC, and the first NEWMAC Postseason victory in school history. A true accomplishment for the Men's Basketball team.
This release is courtesy of Springfield Sports Information.