BABSON PARK, Mass. – Springfield College senior Jordan Rote (Sheffield, Mass.) scored six of his career-high 30 points in overtime to lift the visiting Pride to a 68-62 win over host Babson College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball contest at Staake Gymnasium on Thursday night.
Springfield improved to 12-4 overall and 3-0 in the conference, while the Beavers continue to search for their first league victory after falling to 8-7 overall and 0-3 in NEWMAC play.
Rote led all players and set a new career-high with 30 points for Springfield, hitting 8-of-14 from the floor and 13-of-14 from the free throw line. The senior captain also joined sophomore Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.) with a team-best seven rebounds while chipping in three steals and a blocked shot. In addition to his game-high six points in overtime, Rote also recorded two rebounds and two key thefts in the extra session.
Junior Kenny Ross (Furlong, Pa.) shot 3-for-6 from three-point range as part of a 15-point, five-assist performance for Babson, while sophomore John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) also netted 15 points to go with three assists, two blocks, two steals, and a game-high nine rebounds. Ross played all 45 minutes at the point guard spot for the Beavers, and Wickey played all but one minute. Sophomore Ryan Stowe (Shrewsbury, Mass.) added nine points on a trio of three-pointers for the Green and White, and first-year Travis Sheldon (Woodstock, N.Y.) tacked on five rebounds and six points, including the game-tying bucket at the buzzer to send the game into overtime.
Neither team led by more than five until the final minutes of the back-and-forth first half, with Springfield eventually taking a seven-point cushion into the break. After Wickey converted a nice turnaround jumper in the paint to give Babson a 19-18 edge, the Pride responded with seven straight points to go up 25-19 with 2:15 left in the period. Sophomore Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) started the run with a three-pointer, while Rote followed with back-to-back lay-ups for the six-point advantage.
Springfield later pushed its lead to seven with a conventional three-point play by junior Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) with 1:36 to go in the half, and after Babson junior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) answered with a bucket at the other end, Altman converted a feed from Burke with 42 seconds left to take a 30-23 lead into the locker room. Rote and Burke each shot 4-for-7 for 10 and nine points, respectively, in the period, while Wickey led Babson with seven points at the break.
The second half saw the Pride expand its lead to 14 on a pair of occasions in the opening five minutes, and the visitors still led by as many as 13 (51-38) following consecutive lay-ups by Burke midway through the stanza. However, Babson fought back with an 11-2 run that cut its deficit to just four (53-49), with Wickey providing four points and Stowe adding a trifecta during the burst.
Springfield led by five at 56-51 with just over a minute to go, but Stowe hit another huge three from the left side to make it a two-point affair with 42 ticks left. The Pride then appeared to ice the game by hitting its next four free throw attempts, including two by Rote that made it 60-56 with just 11.5 seconds left.
On its next possession, Babson pulled to within two after Ross drew a foul and sank both free throws to make it 60-58 with 6.4 seconds remaining. The Beavers then fouled immediately, and Springfield gave the hosts life by missing both freebies at the other end. On the ensuing transition, Sheldon received the ball on the left wing and made a slashing cut to the hoop, sinking the game-tying lay-up as the buzzer sounded to knot the score at 60-60 and send the game into overtime.
The Beavers struck first in the extra session, as Wickey hit a lay-up 16 seconds in to give Babson a 62-60 edge. However, those would be the hosts' final points of the night, as Springfield closed with eight straight to clinch the 68-62 win. Junior Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) scored the first two from the line with 4:17 left, and Rote connected on a nice slashing lay-up off a Burke pass to give the Pride a 64-62 lead with 2:45 remaining. The two teams then traded empty possessions for the next two and a half minutes before Babson got the ball back with under 20 seconds on the clock.
Driving down the left side of the lane, Beavers' senior Russell Braithwaite (Brooklyn, N.Y.) drew contact at the hoop but was whistled for an offensive foul, giving the ball back to Springfield. Rote then sank two free throws with 12.7 seconds left and two more with 3.9 on the clock as the Pride finally clinched the six-point victory.
Burke chipped in 15 points, six boards, and three assists in the win for the Pride, while Braithwaite netted seven points and Foley finished with six rebounds in defeat for Babson.