Westfield men bounce Blazers; improve to 6-0

Matt Devine is congratulated by Carl Buono after scoring his 1,000th career point. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

WESTFIELD – Senior guard Lee Vazquez led a balanced attack with 13 points and senior center Matt Devine (8 points, 11 rebounds, 4 blocks, 3 steals) scored his 1,000th career point to lead the undefeated Westfield State University men’s basketball team to a 76-54 victory over Elms College in the final game of the 12th Annual Pioneer Valley Hoop Classic on Saturday evening, Dec. 1.
Westfield (6-0) was the only undefeated team in the two-day Classic. Elms (1-5) was 0-2 and Amherst and Springfield were 1-1. In Saturday’s opening game, Springfield posted a big 70-64 victory over Amherst, handing the Lord Jeffs only their second setback in 24 Pioneer Valley Classic games.
It was a special night for Devine (Pembroke), who scored on a lay-in 36 seconds into the second half to become the 19th men’s basketball player in school history to score 1,000 career points. Vazquez (Attleboro) scored his 1,000th career point in this year’s season opener.
Westfield, which led the nation in field goal percentage defense and blocked shots last season, jumped out to a 44-29 halftime lead as

Matt Devine scores his 1,000th career point on a lay-in early in the second half. (Photo by Mickey Curtis)

Elms only shot 30 percent from the field. The Blazers threw up even more bricks in the second half as they shot a dismal 16 percent (5 for 31) from the floor.
The Owls also outrebounded the Blazers, 47-33, and blocked seven shots, including four rejections by the 6-7 Devine who led the NCAA Division III in blocked shots last season.
Westfield jumped out to an early 12-0 lead and led by as many as 19 in the first half. Devine made two baskets in the game’s first three minutes but he was held scoreless the remainder of the first half; he had entered the game with 994 career points.
Westfield’s smallest lead in the second half was 14 points as Elms was unable to put together a scoring run because of its poor field goal shooting.
Also scoring in double figures for the Owls were sophomore forward Grant Cooper of Northampton (12 points) and sophomore guard Jordan Santiago of Westfield (10 points). Sophomore reserve forward Dan Johnson of Belchertown scored nine points, all in the first half.
The Owls shot an even 50 percent from the field, including 7 for 11 from 3-point range.
Andre French was Elms’ only player in double figures with 13 points.

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