Springfield, Mass. - The Wheaton College men's basketball team closed its regular season with a 79-52 loss at Springfield College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action Saturday afternoon at Blake Arena. Despite the loss, the Lyons secured the No. 5 seed in the conference tournament and will face No. 4 Babson Wednesday night in Babson Park.
Senior Anthony Weeks (Fitchburg, Mass./Worcester Academy) paced the Lyons (11-13, 4-8 NEWMAC) with 13 points and five rebounds while classmate Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, R.I./Bishop Hendricken) went for 10 points and four rebounds. Freshman forward Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) had eight points, four rebounds, and three steals for the Lyons, who forced 20 turnovers but shot just 29 percent from the field (18-of-63). The Pride, meanwhile, drained 50 percent of their field goals (31-of-62), held a 49-33 edge on the class, and recorded 17 blocked shots.
Senior Jordan Rote (Sheffield, Mass./Mt. Everett) scored a game-high 17 points for Springfield (16-9, 7-5 NEWMAC), who secured the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament and will play the second game next Saturday at MIT against No. 2 WPI. Senior Ryan Coburn (West Warwick, Mass./West Warwick) added 11 points, eight rebounds and seven blocks.
Springfield took an early 9-4 lead with 13:59 on the clock after Rote leaked out for a fast-break layup. A pair of free throws by Rote pushed the Pride lead to 11 (17-6), and after three free throws by Wheaton - including two from sophomore guard Will Bayliss (Manchester, N.H./Tilton Academy) - cut the lead to eight, the Pride went on a 9-2 run to take a 26-11 lead.
The Lyons closed to within 10 (28-18) with 3:06 to go in the first half before Springfield netted the final four points to take a 36-18 lead to the locker room. Springfield hit 15-of-27 (.556) from the field and held the Lyons to just 6-of-30 shooting.
Wheaton rattled off nine of the first 11 points of the second half and twice closed its deficit to 11 points - the second at 42-31 with 14:57 left. Springfield answered with a 19-4 run and built a 61-35 lead with eight minutes and change remaining. The Pride led by as many as 34 with 2:47 left (75-41) before the Lyons closed the game on an 11-4 run.
Looking ahead to Wednesday's playoff contest, Babson swept the season series from the Lyons. The Beavers knocked off the Lyons 52-45 in Norton on Jan. 21 and posted a 10-point win (64-54) in Babson Park last Wednesday. The quarterfinal contest will start at 7 p.m.