Score: No. 2 Emerson 80, No. 3 Springfield 69
Records: No. 2 Emerson Lions (15-11, 9-5 NEWMAC) ; No. 3 Springfield Pride (11-15, 8-7 NEWMAC)
Location: Boston, Mass. (Brown & Plofker Gym)
Date: Thursday, February 21, 2019
The Lead: Four members of the Emerson men's basketball starting lineup tallied double digits as the No. 2 Lions sent the No. 3 Springfield Pride packing in an 80-69 NEWMAC Semifinal round victory on Thursday night. The win counted as Emerson's first home playoff win in program history and will host No. 5 WPI on Saturday.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
• Senior Geoffrey Gray (Newton, Mass.) led the all scorers with 24 points on 8-of-22 shooting and shot a perfect 6-of-6 at the free throw line, completing a double-double with 12 rebounds and three assists.
• Following Gray was junior Jack O'Connor (Newport, R.I.), who notched 23 points shooting 4-of-4 beyond the arc along with nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and one block.
• Freshman Zach Waterhouse (Hampton, N.H.) connected for 17 points on 6-of-14 and classmate Jarred Houston (Norwood, Mass.) rounded out the scoring leaders with 10 points and 10 boards.
• Springfield saw three players boast double figures, anchored by Jake Ross with 20 points, eight boards, six assists and two steals.
• Cam Earle contributed 19 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 6-of-12 from the three-point arc and Heath Post joined with 13 points, eight rebounds and one assist.
• Emerson finished the night shooting 46.0% from the floor with an 88.2% free-throw percentage, out rebounded the Pride (39-32) and put up 34 points in the paint.
• Springfield shot 38.3% from the hardwood with a 44.4% three-point percentage and connected for 84.6% at the charity stripe.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Springfield banged out three triples in the opening three and a half minutes of the first half from Ross and Earle to push the Pride ahead by seven (11-4) at the 16:32 mark.
• Starting at 16:18 on Waterhouse's dunk, Emerson answered with a 9-0 spurt to give the hosts its first advantage at 13-11, capped off on a three-pointer from junior Jack O'Connor.
• The Lions knotted the game 20-apiece at 8:39 after freshman Nate Martin (Great Falls, Va.) turned a Springfield turnover into two points and maintained a steady tie two times with the Pride over the next two minutes.
• Houston dunked at 4:59 to start off a 9-4 run that saw Waterhouse ring off five points and put the Lions in front by four (34-30) with 1:56 on the clock.
• Early canned the equalizing triple to put the score at 34-all at 1:02 before Gray put up the go-ahead layup with six ticks remaining as Emerson went into the break with the 36-34 edge.
• A pair of buckets from Gray extend Emerson's lead up to six, its largest of the game at the time, at the 16:36 mark of the second half.
• The hosts maintained its lead of three until Jake Jacobsen drained a triple from the corner to even the score at 46-apiece.
• After Springfield tied up the score, Gray connected for a three-point basket to ignite an 15-6 run that once again bumped Emerson ahead by nine (59-53) at 9:12.
• Earle used two consecutive three's to pull Springfield back within three (64-61) as O'Connor singlehandedly propelled Emerson back up by eight with the next five Lions points (69-61).
• The Pride narrowed the deficit down to four (69-64) on Ross's layup before the Lions went on a 10-0 tear that put the host's advantage into double figures (79-65) and sealed the 80-69 win at free throw line.
• Emerson moves on to host No. 5 WPI on Saturday.
• Springfield's 2019 season has come to a close.
STAY LIVE WITH THE LIONS