Trio Shines as Men's Basketball Overcomes Early Deficit to Defeat Wheaton

Domenick Mastascusa

Norton, MA --- The Wheaton men's basketball team held a 44-41 advantage over No. 5 WPI at the half, but the Engineers slowly chipped away at their deficit to come away with an eventual 83-69 victory over the Lyons in NEWMAC action on Saturday afternoon at Emerson Gymnasium. With the win, the Engineers extended their winning streak to 13-straight games, which is now tied for the third longest streak in the 100-plus-year history of the program. 

Freshman guard Agyei Gregory (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) guided Wheaton in the opening half scoring 21 points going 7-of-9 from the field, 3-of-5 from long distance and 4-for-4 at the free throw line. Gregory, who buried six consecutive shots to start his afternoon, finished with 25 points, five rebounds, two steals and a block. Senior guard Will Bayliss (Manchester, NH) scored 12 of his 19 points in the second half to go along with four assists, two rebounds and a steal. Junior guard Eddie Capstick (Worcester, MA) contributed nine points, while freshman forward Quinton Dale (Winthrop, MA) tallied five points, hauled in six boards and notched one block. 

WPI junior forward Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) and senior forward Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) dialed up 25 points apiece as the duo combined to shoot 19-for-25 from the field. Kolb also added six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 34 minutes of action. Junior guard Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) compiled 17 points, six rebounds and three assists and sophomore guard Zach Karalis (North Andover, MA) rounded out the list of double digit scorers with ten points. 

Wheaton came out strong in the opening minutes of play executing an 11-0 run as Gregory collected six points during the spurt. Kolb finally put the Engineers on the board with a layup on a nice feed from sophomore guard Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA), but the Lyons pushed their advantage to as many as 15 points at the 13:40 mark of the half. Gregory led the charge once again with six points highlighted by an and-one play after draining a jumper in traffic at 16:13. Bayliss aided the offense with five points and Morales pitched in with two points. 

The Engineers dwindled down the gap to 36-35 with 3:43 left to play in the first half using a 26-12 run over a span of 9:57 capped by a jumper from Mastascusa. Gregory, riding the momentum from his quick start in the first half, answered with a three-pointer from Bayliss to make it a two-possession contest (39-35). Mastascusa single-handedly brought WPI within three (44-41) to close out the opening stanza tallying six-straight points which included a 4-for-4 showing from the free throw line. 

WPI took its first and only lead of the game at the 18:30 mark of the second half on a pair of free throws from Longwell. The Engineers built up an 11-point margin (60-51) through the first 10 minutes of action in the second stanza as Longwell paced the squad with nine points. The visitors shot 55.6-percent (16-for-28) from the field in the second half to avoid any comeback by Wheaton.

The Engineers held a 37-27 differential on the boards, a 40-32 margin in points in the paint and a 37-13 gap in bench points. Wheaton took advantage of turnovers outscoring WPI, 11-8, in the category and also recorded five steals. The Engineers, who entered the game ranked eighth among all NCAA Division III teams in assists dished out 20 total, nearly three more than their season average. 

Wheaton (7-8, 2-4 NEWMAC) travels to MIT on Wednesday for a conference clash beginning at 7pm. No. 5 WPI (16-1, 6-0 NEWMAC) visits Coast Guard on the same day with its NEWMAC matchup scheduled to tip-off at 5:30pm.

Release Courtesy Wheaton Sports Information

Postgame Interview with Domenick Mastascusa and Ryan Kolb via NoontimeSports