Becker Ends Men's Basketball Worcester County Title Reign in Dramatic Fashion

Jamie Shannon

Worcester, MA --- Rajai Leggett (New Haven, CT) drained a layup with 2.7 seconds left to give host Becker a thrilling 62-61 victory over WPI in the championship game of the eighth annual Worcester County Men's Basketball Classic.

After preseason All-American Jeffrey Robinson (Granby, CT) drained a pair of free throws with 10.1 remaining to put the Engineers up 61-60, Tournament MVP Terrence Favors (Boston, MA) drove the three quarters court and found a streaking Leggett for the game-winning points.  A desperation half court heave by WPI was on-line but short and the Hawks dealt the Engineers, the seven-time defending WCC championships, their first tournament loss in 16 outings. 

Prior to Robinson's free throws, Becker Markus Wright (New Haven, CT) gave the Hawks a 59-58 advantage with a jumper with 14.3 seconds remaining.  After a first half that saw only one lead change, the second half featured nine, including six in the final five minutes.  

Trae Jacobs (Lexington Park, MD) was the only Hawk in double figures with 16 points, on 7-of-9 shooting from the floor.  Favors and Leggett each tossed in nine points while DJ Exum (New London, CT) added eight.  Leggett also filled the stat sheets with six rebounds and three blocks. 

Fernando Perez (Lowell, MA) registered a game-best 18 points for the Engineers while Robinson and Carr both chipped in with nine.  Carr added four block shots while Ben Etten (Hollis, NH) contributed eight points and hauled in a team-high eight boards.  

The Hawks used a 20-4 run midway through the first half to turn a 14-7 deficit into a 27-18 advantage. Jacobs drained all four of his first half field goals for Becker, while Carr led all players with nine points in the opening stanza, including the Engineers' only two field goals during a nine-minute stretch. 

Joining Favors, Jacobs and Etten on the All-Tournament team was WPI guard Jaime Shannon (Lowell, MA), freshman Ryan Sheehan (North Andover, MA) of Nichols and junior Frank Stevenson (Fall River, MA) of Worcester State.  Earlier in the afternoon, Nichols defeated the Lancers 86-79 in the consolation game.     

WPI opens up its home season on Tuesday at 7pm when its host Framingham State.  The Rams are coming in off an upset Saturday of two-time NCAA Tournament participant MIT.  Becker is off until next Sunday at 1pm when then venture to New Haven to take on Albertus Magnus.