Kolb Pushes Men's Basketball Past Springfield to Claim NEWMAC Tournament Crown

Kolb Pushes Men's Basketball Past Springfield to Claim NEWMAC Tournament Crown

Worcester, MA --- Tournament Most Outstanding Player Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) erupted for a career-best 29 points to lead top seed and host WPI to a thrilling 79-72 overtime victory over third-seeded Springfield in the championship game of the 2013 NEWMAC Men's Basketball Tournament.  

The game played in front of a boisterous crowd of 1,800 in Harrington Auditorium, helped WPI (25-2) establish a new school record for wins in a season. 

WPI, sixth in the most recent D3hoops.com Top 25 and second in the latest NCAA Division III Northeast rankings, claimed its third NEWMAC Tournament title and first since 2006.  The Engineers appear in line to host an NCAA Tournament game on Saturday, March 2nd and will find out its opponent on Monday at 12:30pm.  Springfield (19-8), seventh in the latest NCAA Division III Northeast rankings, hopes to earn an at-large bid to the 60-team tournament. 

After shooting only 32.1% in the second half, the Engineers drained four-of-six field goals in the extra frame.  Point guard Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA), who was hampered by foul trouble made sure WPI never trailed in the overtime session, scoring the first two baskets. 

WPI led by one at 73-72 when Joe Wesoloski (Arlington, MA) took a charge to give the Crimson and Gray the ball back with 59.1 seconds remaining.  On the other end, Marco Coppola (Watertown, MA) drilled a baseline jumper with 44.6 left to push the advantage to three.   Following a Pride missed a 3-pointer, WPI canned four free throws in the final 24 seconds to secure the title. 

The Engineers led by 14 early in the second half but Springfield tallied 25 of the next 33 points over the next 10 minutes to take a 61-58 advantage with 4:29 to go.  Reserve Josh Altman (Rockport, MA) highlighted the spurt with seven points for the visitors.  

From that point, the contest belonged to Kolb, who scored WPI's final seven points of regulation.  He netted a traditional 3-point play at 3:53 to tie the game at 61.  Another Kolb layup forced the game's seventh tie with 1:56 left and his free throws put the Engineers ahead 67-65 with 51.3 seconds remaining. Altman evened the game on a drive in the lane with 26 seconds left.  WPI shot too early and missed on the ensuing possession but Springfield's last second bid from behind the 3-point line bounced off the rim. 

WPI used a 14-0 run midway through the first half to transform a 15-14 deficit with 10 minutes to go before break into a 28-15 advantage just three minutes later.  Kolb tossed in 16 points to help the Engineers enjoy a 40-28 edge at the half. 

Kolb connected on 8-of-17 field goals and 11-of-14 from the charity stripe en route to establishing a new career-high.  Coppola contributed 14 points and a game-best seven assists while Wesoloski and Matt Harrington (Shrewsbury, MA) aided the effort the nine points.      

Robbie Burke (Cheshire, MA) continued his strong tournament, missing a double-double by just a rebound.  The junior forward amassed 18 points and nine boards to go along with four steals while Altman finished with 14 points, three assists and a pair of steals.  Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, MA) tossed in 10 points for the Pride and Alex Berthiaume (Springfield, MA) dodged foul trouble throughout the contest to post six points and hand out four assists.

Championship Photos

Postgame interview with head coach Chris Bartley (courtesy Noontime Sports)

Postgame interview with Marco Coppola and Ryan Kolb  (courtesy Noontime Sports)

Postgame net cutting ceremony