Fitchburg, MA --- Nationally-ranked WPI (6-1) defeated Fitchburg State (7-3), 75-61, in a non-conference men's basketball contest at the Recreation Center on the campus of FSU on Saturday afternoon.
In the first half, the Falcons fell victim to superb perimeter shooting and several WPI scoring surges that led to a 38-27 Engineer's lead at the break. WPI, ranked 13th in the country in the latest D3hoops.com poll, netted 13 points off 10 Fitchburg State turnovers in the opening 20 minutes and went on to lead by double digits for the entire second stanza.
With the Falcons trialing by one at the 16:25 mark of the first period, the Engineer's scored eight unanswered points – including a pair of three pointers by junior forward Clyde Niba (Atlanta, GA) – to secure a 17-8 cushion. The Green & Gold managed to cut their deficit down to seven on two occasions, but the visitors would go up by as many as 15 in the opening stanza on a layup by freshman forward Aaron Todd (York, ME) at the 2:24 mark.
In the first half, WPI shot a scorching 54.5% (6-11) from beyond the arc and 46.2% (12-16) from the field. The Falcons meanwhile went 9-24 (37.5%) from the floor in the opening half.
WPI continued to shoot well from the hardwood in the second half, and a 9-0 run at the 14:03 mark pulled the game out of reach for the Falcons. Fitchburg State finished the contest on an 8-0 run however – including six points from free throws – increasing their total from the charity stripe to 20 on the half.
For the Falcons, sophomore guard Leonny Burgos (Lawrence, MA) had a team-leading 14 points, including 10 from the free throw line. Junior forward Givaughn Jones (Dorchester, MA) chipped in with eight points in the losing effort.
WPI was led by senior guard Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) with a game-high 23 points and eight boards, going 4-5 from downtown and 7-10 from the field. Early in the game, the senior passed Mike Prestileo to move into 20th all-time on the scoring list. Longwell currently has 1,120 career points. Junior guard Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA) contributed with 12 points and five assists, with six points coming from the line.
Overall, Fitchburg State shot a season-low 32% (16-50) from the floor, 14.3% (2-14) from three-point range. WPI countered by shooting 44.4% (20-45) from the field, 50% (9-18) from downtown. Both teams went to the line 35 times apiece, including a combined 47 in the closing half.
Fitchburg State will wrap up their first half of the season as they host Daniel Webster on Tuesday, Dec. 9 at 7pm. WPI will be back in action on Monday, Dec. 8 as they travel to Newbury for a 7pm tipoff.
Release Courtesy Fitchburg State Sports Information