Kyle Fredette leads Western New England College past Springfield in Pioneer Valley Hoop Classic

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Junior forward Kyle Fredette (Wallingford, VT) had a double-double for the second straight game with a game high 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead visiting Western New England College to a 59-54 victory over Springfield College Friday night (Nov. 30) in an opening round game of the Pioneer Valley Men's Hoop Classic at Blake Arena.

The 6'6" Fredette made 6-of-11 shots from the field and set a tournament record with six blocked shots (four in the second half) as the Golden Bears improved their record to 3-2.

Western New England College also received a solid outing from freshman forward Brad Thomka (Springfield, MA) who added 12 points. He and Fredette each made all four of their free throws.

Junior guard Matt Maynard (Paterson, NJ) contributed nine points and five rebounds while senior guard Ryan Hernandez (Hampton Bays, NY) also scored nine points with three assists coming off the bench.

Sophomore guard Chris DeVine (Wilbraham, MA) chipped-in with seven points and five rebounds. Senior point guard Asif Abdul-Wadud (Springfield, MA) netted only four points, but dished out three assists and had a game best three steals.

Thomka opened the scoring with a baseline jumper 20 seconds into the contest before the Pride jumped to a 14-4 lead at the 13:06 mark.

The Golden Bears responded with a 24-8 run over the next over the next dozen minutes taking a 28-22 advantage on a jumper by Fredette with 1:36 remaining before intermission.

Springfield (1-2) got within one point before Hernandez made a free throw with six seconds left for a 29-27 lead at the break.

WNEC started the second half with an 8-2 run and gradually built its largest lead at 52-39 following a basket by DeVine at the 6:44 mark.

The Pride cut the margin to seven at 55-48 when freshman forward Dan Atkinson (Foxboro, MA) converted a pair of free throws with 1:09 left. Senior guard Jamaal Gibbs (Norwalk, CT) knocked down a three-pointer with six seconds remaining to cut the margin to four (58-54) before Hernandez closed out the scoring with a free throw two seconds later.

Sophomore forward Pat Crean (Sleep Hollow, NY) was the only SC player in double figure with 15 points. Senior center Gregg Daly (Farmington, CT) pulled down a game high 13 rebounds while junior forward John Strawson (Torrington, CT) added 12 boards as the Pride took a 45-37 advantage in that category.

Neither team shot particularly well with Western New England College making 36.2% of its field goal attempts and Springfield only 34.8% of its shots.

SC, which was playing for the first time in 13 days, had a 23-21 edge in field goals, but went to the foul line only four times making three of its shots. The Golden Bears, meanwile, were 13-of-17 from the foul line (including 10-of-13 in the second half).

Western New England College will meet defending NCAA Division III champion Amherst at 1:00 p.m. Saturday (Dec. 1) in the second-round of the tournament. The Lord Jeffs remained unbeaten with an easy 98-49 win over Westfield State in the first contest tonight.

Between games, Springfield dedicated its newly re-named James Naismith Court in honor of the inventor of basketball and former school faculty member.