Springfield Knocks Off Men's Basketball In Hard-Fought NEWMAC Semifinal

Marco Coppola

Cambridge, MA --- Junior Alex Berthiaume (Springfield, MA) poured in a game-high 22 points to help propel third-seeded Springfield to a 66-60 win over WPI in the second of two New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) semifinals at MIT's Rockwell Cage on Saturday afternoon.

Springfield (17-9) advances to Sunday's championship game for the first time since 2009 and will met top-seed and host MIT at 1pm.  WPI (18-7), ranked seventh in the latest NCAA Division III Northeast regional rankings, hopes for a Pool C (at-large) bid to the NCAA Championships.  Selections will be announced on Monday at noon.

Berthiaume shot 8-of-16 from the field and 2-for-3 from behind the arc while chipping in three rebounds and four assists. Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, RI) added a team-high eight boards to go along with 13 points. Sean Martin (Rindge, NH) was also in double figures for the Pride with 12. 

Freshman Marco Coppola (Watertown, MA) was the leading scorer for the Engineers (18-7). Senior Matt Carr (Somersworth, NH) had eight points and a game-high 12 rebounds before fouling out late in the game. 

Springfield led 50-38 with 11:34 to go before WPI rattled off nine straight points in a 2:21 span, capped by a three-pointer from Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) that sliced the Springfield advantage to three. The Engineers got to within two, at 57-55, with 5:22 to go and the two teams then went scoreless for nearly three minutes before Berthiaume hit a jumper in traffic to push the advantage back to four. WPI answered back quickly with a Coppola 13-foot jump shot, only to see Springfield answer at the other end on a layup by Coburn. 

At that point, the Springfield defense stiffened and as the Pride missed the front-end of two one-and-ones, they forced the Crimson and Gray to miss its next four shots from the field and caused one turnover. The Pride eventually salted the game away from the free-throw line, making five-of-eight down freebies down the stretch. 

Springfield took a 31-30 lead into the intermission, despite WPI getting a combined 19 points from its freshman (Coppola and Longwell). The Pride took the balanced route, with Berthiaume and Martin each pouring in seven points, and Jordan Rote (Sheffield, MA) providing a spark off the bench with six points and four rebounds, in a half that saw eight lead changes and four ties. 

Release Combination of WPI and MIT Sports Information