Longwell Hits Milestone as Men's Basketball Posts Season-Opening Triumph Over RPI

Sam Longwell

Worcester, MA --- Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) led all scorers with 20 points and reached the 1,000-point milestone with a first half dunk to lead nationally-ranked WPI to a 66-55 victory over visiting Rensselaer in a non-conference men's basketball matchup on Saturday afternoon at Harrington Auditorium. 

The host Engineers, ranked No. 12 in the preseason D3hoops.com Top 25, improve to 1-0 while Troy's Engineers dip to 0-1. 

The two teams traded buckets until RPI's Josh Dugas (Monroe, CT) snapped a 4-4 tie with a trifecta at 16:48. The host Engineers looked to even it back up but Clyde Niba's (Atlanta, GA) triple caromed off the cylinder and the shot clock prior to the dead ball whistle. RPI continuted a 7-0 run before Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) halted it with a layup at 14:49. Troy's Engineers pushed their lead out to eight following a layup by Asa Barnhill (Gloversville, NY) with 12:30 to go before the intermission.  Sixteen seconds later, Zach Karalis (North Andover, MA) ignited an 8-2 outburst, which was capped off by Longwell's milestone dunk to pull the hosts within a pair. Longwell followed it up with a 3-pointer to give WPI the 21-20 advantage with 7:33 left in the frame. The Crimson and Gray then closed out the half on a 14-4 run, highlighted by five more by Longwell and a pair of layups by Niba. 

Through the first eight minutes of the second half, WPI increased its lead to 16 following a layup by Aaron Todd (York, ME) and a 3-pointer by Karalis. With 11:37 left to play, Karalis sank a pair of freebies for an 18-point WPI cushion. Justin Luster (Essex, CT) and Brian Hatcher (Danbury, CT) brought the visiting Engineers within 14 midway through the half courtesy of a free throw and a triple, respectively. Later in the frame, Obi Obiora's (Boston, MA) personal 4-0 run increased the hosts advantage back to 18 with 7:37 to play. Just over 30 seconds later, an old fashioned three-point play by Chase Almond (South Kingstown, RI) cut RPI's deficit to 15. The visitors eventually pulled within 10 with a Hatcher free throw as 3:09 showed on the scoreboard. WPI scored six of the final 11 points for the 66-55 final. 

Longwell, who shot 7-for-13 from the floor and was 4-for-4 at the charity stripe, added a team-best six boards while Obiora finished with 12 points and five rebounds. Karalis chipped in with 11 points as Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) and Niba each pulled down four defensive caroms.  

Longwell became the 26th men's player all-time to reach 1,000 points at WPI and now stands 25th on the list with 1,017.

Tyler Gendron (Merrimack, NH) was a pair of rebounds shy of a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds while Almond paced RPI with 13 points and added six boards. Hatcher also scored 10 points to go along with seven rebounds. Luster doled out a game-high six helpers. 

WPI concludes its season-opening two-game homestand on Tuesday at 7pm versus Curry.   RPI is back in action tomorrow entertaining Berkeley (NY) in its home opener at 3pm. 

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