Leicester, MA --- Jaime Shannon (Lowell, MA) led all scorers with a career-high 18 points and five assists as WPI defeated host Becker, 62-57 in a men's basketball matchup of cross-town rivals on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers, who came into the game ranked No. 18 in the latest D3hooops.com Top 25 poll, are now 6-0 to begin their season while Becker falls to 2-3.
Both teams fought to gain the measure of the other during the intense opening minutes, which saw the teams combine to miss 12 of their first 17 shots in a defensive struggle. The Hawks took a 10-7 lead on a jumper by Yahmad Roundtree (Waterbury, CT) with 12:34 left in the opening period, only for the Engineers to immediately answer on a three-pointer by Marco Coppola (Watertown, MA) to tie the game. WPI would eventually go on a 13-3 run capped off by a layup by Matt Carr (Somersworth, NH), taking a 20-13 lead with 9:40 remaining in the half. WPI would ultimately take a 31-25 edge going into halftime, led by Coppola and Carr who each had nine points. Moody Doherty (Roselle, NJ) and Jerome Cohen (Boston, MA) each had eight points to pace the Hawks. Three-point shooting was key in the first half, as WPI buried five of eleven from behind the arc while Becker missed on their only attempt.
As the second half got underway, the Hawks of Becker rallied to slowly chip away at the WPI lead. A jumper by Tyler Roberson (Irvington, NJ) finally tied the game at 34 with 14:58 left in the game. WPI would immediately answer with a three pointer by Shannon. Two minutes later, Roberson would hit Becker's first three-pointer to tie the game again at 39. WPI would counter with a 12-2 run, highlighted by a pair of trifectas by Shannon and Sam Longwell (Acton, MA). The Engineers took a 51-41 lead with 6:20 left, their largest lead of the game.
As they had all afternoon, Becker would rally, cutting the lead to 55-51 with 2:11 remaining after a Doherty free throw. And as WPI had done all afternoon, the Engineers would turn to the three-pointer, as David Brown (Lowell, MA) hit a dagger from behind the arc with just 1:46 left. A floater by Roberson with 1.5 seconds left came too little, too late for the Hawks.
Coppola, the reigning NEWMAC conference player of the week, scored 15 points with four rebounds and three assists. Carr provided a tremendous inside presence, swatting away four blocks, collecting two steals and pulling down a team high eight rebounds in addition to scoring 11 points. In addition to leading the Crimson and Gray in scoring and assists, Shannon contributed three rebounds and a steal, playing 38 minutes. All but five of Shannon's 18 points came in the second half. It was the third time in four years the Engineers have started the season at 6-0.
The Hawk defense did an outstanding job, holding a WPI squad that came into the day averaging 90.2 points per contest to their lowest output of the season. Doherty and Cohen each finished with 16 points. Doherty added seven rebounds with three steals and two blocks while Cohen led the team with eight boards, two blocks and two steals. Roberson came off the bench to score all 11 of his points in the second period. Terrance Favors (Boston, MA) added seven points, six rebounds and three steals.
The game was a matchup of NCAA Tournament teams from last season, when each program advanced to the second round. Becker will play next on Tuesday, December 6 as they host the Bears of Bridgewater State at 7:00pm. WPI continues its non-conference schedule on Tuesday when they head to Colby-Sawyer to take on the Chargers, also at 7:00pm.
Release Courtesy of Becker Sports Information