Worcester, Mass. – David Mercier scored 18 of his game-high 22 points in the second half to lead a quartet of Clark student-athletes in double figures and the host Cougars posted an 82-68 win over Springfield College in New England Women's And Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon.
Score: Clark University 82, Springfield College 68
Records: Clark University (11-6, 3-3 NEWMAC); Springfield College (8-9, 2-4 NEWMAC)
Location: Kneller Athletic Center, Worcester, Mass.
How It Happened:
The game was nip and tuck for most of the first half but when Jake Ross (Northampton, Mass.) knocked down back-to-back jumpers the Pride went ahead 32-23.
Clark answered back with a Joe Atkinson (Milford, Mass.) three-pointer and that basket ignited a 10-0 burst capped by a traditional three-point play from Brendan Kittredge (Clinton, Mass.) that put the Cougars in front, 33-32.
Springfield went into intermission ahead, 37-33 as Kevin Durkin (Worcester, Mass.) scored inside and then Avalon McLaren (Brockton, Mass.) converted a three-point play of his own.
The Cougars opened the second half on a 14-2 run that featured Luca McCormick (Bradenton, Fla.) and Atkinson getting free inside for a three-point plays, Mercier scoring in close and the spurt was finished off by a pair of Evan Lerner (Hopedale, Mass.) free throws.
Even a few minutes later, after two hoops from John Pisacreta (Andover, Mass.) the Clark advantage was still at 55-46.
Stanley Davis (Boston, Mass.) found Ross for an easy hoop as the game wore on, but the Cougars had the response as Mercier scored twice and then made four free throws to stretch the lead out to 13 at 65-52.
A three-point play from Ross and then a steal and fast break finish from Andy McNulty (West Springfield, Mass.) highlighted a Springfield run that cut the Clark edge down to six at 65-59.
Once again, however, the Scarlet and White had the answer as Mercier scored inside once again, Lamar Berk (Saint Augustine, Fla.) made two free throws and Mercier then made two of his own to push the lead back to 12 at 71-59 with less than three minutes to go.
Inside The Boxscore:
Clark shot 52 percent from the field in the second half compared to just 39 percent for the Pride. The Cougars also made (29) as many free throws as Springfield attempted, including going 22-for-24 in the final 20 minutes.
For The Foes:
Ross led the way with 22 points on 9-for-18 shooting, while both McNulty (14) and Durkin (13) joined him in double figures. Keegan McDonough (Bath, Maine) had a strong all-around effort, totaling six points, ten rebounds and four assists.
In addition to Mercier's 22 points, Clark got 14 points and five rebounds from Pisacreta and 12 points and six rebounds from McCormick.
Atkinson finished with 11 points, four rebounds, three assists and three steals, while Berk just missed out on a double-double with eight points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday with conference contests. Springfield welcomes Emerson, while the Cougars visit the nation's No. 1 team in Babson.