Men's Basketball Stymies Coast Guard in NEWMAC Opener

Joe Wesoloski

Worcester, MA – Matt Carr (Somersworth, NH) and Marco Coppola (Watertown, MA) each scored 12 points as WPI defeated Coast Guard 64-53 on Wednesday evening in the NEWMAC men's basketball conference opener for both programs.

WPI climbs to 10-2 with a 1-0 record in the NEWMAC standings while the loss sets Coast Guard back to 6-4 with a 0-1 record in conference play.

Scoring was slow for both teams early on, as the first field goal of the game wasn't made until nearly four minutes into the game, a jumper from the Bears' Greg Marshall (Gaithersburg, MD) to give the visitors a 2-1 lead. The Engineers would respond, however, with a 10-1 run capped off by a layup from Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) to give WPI an 11-3 lead with 12:26 remaining in the period. The Crimson and Gray gradually built on their lead for most of the half, forcing their trademark up-tempo style on the game. WPI's Coppola had the hot hand in the first half, scoring 12 of the Crimson and Gray's first 23 points. For Coast Guard, Devonte Weems (Chesapeake Beach, MD) carried Coast Guard in the opening period, scoring 10 of the Bears' first 15 points and matching Coppola with 12 points. Rebounding and defense helped spark WPI in the first half, as the hosts enjoyed a 23-14 advantage on the boards and held Coast Guard to 36 percent shooting. Late in the period, Coast Guard went on a 9-5 run capped off by a three-pointer from Marshall with 1:21 remaining to cut the lead to eight. WPI would respond, however, with the last two baskets of the period from David Brown (Lowell, MA) and Jameel Galloway (Randolph, MA) to take a 38-26 lead into halftime.

Early in the second half, the Bears embarked on a 9-2 run including back-to-back baskets by David Anderson (Goose Creek, SC) to cut the Engineers' lead to 42-35. The Crimson and Gray would again respond, holding Coast Guard without a field goal over seven minutes and taking a 50-37 advantage led by Carr, who scored nine of his 12 points in the second period. Coast Guard rallied once again, cutting the lead to 55-49 after a three-pointer by Marshall. But they would get no closer as the WPI defense held down the stretch, with Joe Wesoloski (Arlington, MA) making a layup to beat the shot clock buzzer to give the hosts a ten point lead with two minutes remaining.

Carr, the reigning NEWMAC Conference Player of the Week, had a team-high eight rebounds along with two blocks and a pair of  assists in addition to his 12 points despite limited playing time in the first half due to foul trouble. Coppola filled up the stat line with four steals, four assists and five rebounds behind his 12 points. Jaime Shannon (Lowell, MA) was a demon on the defensive end with a career-high three blocks and a game-high six assists. David Brown tallied seven points and six rebounds while Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) added nine points.

Weems led the Bears with a season-high 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting to go along with three steals. Jimmy Knudsen (Ridge, NY) also had a season-high with 14 points, six rebounds and four steals. Marshall finished with nine points with four boards, while Trip Fernandes (Branford, CT) pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.

Both teams continue NEWMAC play on Saturday.  WPI heads to Babson for a 2pm match-up while Coast Guard entertains Springfield at 1pm. 

Story written by Mike Rupp - WPI Athletics