Worcester, MA --- Matt Carr (Somersworth, NH) paced six WPI players in double figures with 19 points and Marco Coppola (Watertown, MA) registered his first career double-double to help the Engineers rally from a 12-point deficit late in the first half and defeat visiting Salem State 105-80 in a battle of undefeated men's basketball teams on Sunday afternoon.
WPI is now 4-0 following the non-conference matchup between perennial NCAA Tournament participants while Salem State slips to 4-1 on the season.
After giving up an opening 3-point basket to Salem State, WPI answered with a 10-2 run that included two trifectas y Jaime Shannon (Lowell, MA). After the Vikings tied the game at 12, Jameel Galloway (Randolph, MA) continued his strong play of late, hitting a go-ahead three for the Engineers.
Salem State's hot shooting from behind the arc carried them in the first half as the Vikings hit their first six t3-pointers of the contest. The visitors took their first lead of the game on a jumper by Apollos Wade (Taunton, MA) with 12:07 remaining in the period to take a 19-17 advantage. With 4:08 remaining in the half, the Vikings took a 12 point lead off a 3-pointer by Daniel Clark (Deerfield, MA), putting Salem State up 42-30 for their largest lead of the game.
WPI stormed back with an 11-0 run, capped off by a thrilling dunk by Carr from a pass by Coppola to pull the Crimson and Gray to within one, 42-41 with 1:48 left. Carr then connected on a layup at the buzzer when Coppola again found him under the basket, giving the Engineers a 47-46 lead going into halftime.
Both teams shot very well in the first period, with Salem State shooting 66.7 percent from the floor while WPI made 54.1 percent of its own shots. The Vikings were seven of ten from downtown in the first half.
WPI opened the second half with a 16-3 run as Galloway and Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) both made multiple baskets and a stout Engineer defense forced turnovers and altered shots. The Crimson and Gray took a 19 point lead midway through the period when Coppola again connected with Carr to give the home team a 77-58 edge. It was the tenth assist of the night for Coppola, and the WPI lead would not be threatened again. The Engineers were dominant for much of the second half, at one point outscoring the Vikings 42-16 in the period.
Carr led the Engineers with 19 points and six rebounds while shooting 8-of-11 from the floor. Less than a week after scoring 28 points, Coppola finished with 14 points and doled out 11 assists. David Brown (Lowell, MA) racked up 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Galloway was incredibly efficient, scoring ten points with five rebounds and three blocks in just 18 minutes and making four of his five shots. Kolb was tremendous in the second half. After going scoreless in the first frame, Kolb erupted for 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds, all but one of those coming in the second period. Kolb hit 3-of 5 from downtown and shot 50% overall.
Andrew White (Medford, MA) paced the Vikings, scoring a team-high 18 points off the bench on just eight shots. Justin Nieves (Lawrence, MA) added 16 points. Daniel Clark finished with 12 points and four rebounds and Nate Simpson (Lowell, MA) led the Vikings with seven rebounds.
It was the sixth time in the last nine years the Crimson and Gray have started the season at 4-0 and the 40th time in school history and second time this season that WPI has reached the 100 point mark.
Both squads return to action on Thursday. WPI kicks off a four-game road trip in Newton with a 8pm contest against Lasell. Salem State is also on the road, venturing to Plymouth State for a 7:30pm match-up.
Story written by Mike Rupp - WPI Athletics