Seniors Shine as No. 12 Men's Basketball Defeats MCLA 74-61

Ian Converse

Worcester, MA --- Senior preseason All-American Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) posted his second straight double-double and Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) pitched in with 18 points as WPI defeated visiting MCLA 74-61 in a non-conference men's basketball contest played Friday evening in Harrington Auditorium. 

WPI, ranked No. 12 in the most recent Top 25, has won a season-high five straight games and is now 8-1 overall.  It marks the eighth time in the last nine years that the Engineers have started the season 8-1 or better. MCLA slips to 2-6. 

WPI had been in control and led by double digits since midway through the first half until MCLA hit 6-of-7 shots from the field, including 3-for-3 on trifectas to whittle what had been a 17-point bulge to just eight with 12 minutes to go.  Four straight points by Longwell and a Zach Karalis (North Andover, MA) 3-pointer fueled a 7-2 Engineer spurt that helped keep the Trailblazers at bay.  The guests kept battling, never letting WPI get ahead by more than 13 yet not able to draw closer than eight the rest of the way. 

Longwell registered 19 points and 10 rebounds to post his fifth career double-double.   The forward, who was 6-of-12 from the field and netted all six of his free throws, moved passed Jason Golden into 19th all-time on the WPI scoring list with 1,156 career points.  Karalis added 14 points off the bench while Mastascusa hauled in six boards.  Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) tallied nine of his 11 points in the first half and point guard Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA) contributed five points, four assists and four steals.     

MCLA saw three players reach double figures in scoring paced by Khalil Paul (Troy, NY) with 12 points.  Careem Kirksey (Mattapan, MA) and Anthony Barbosa (Worcester, MA) chipped in with 11 and 10 respectively while Adam Conquest (Gardner, MA) notched eight points and shared team-high rebounding honors with Isshiah Coleman (Dorchester, MA) with six boards.   

WPI shot 50% from the floor in the first half and canned 11-of-12 (91.7%) of its free throws en route to a 38-24 advantage at the half.  The Engineers defense was solid, forcing 17 MCLA first half miscues, but the Crimson and Gray committed 14 turnovers of their own before intermission.  Longwell and Doncaster combined for 20 points in the opening stanza while local product Barbosa led the way with five points off the bench for MCLA.    

Both teams are off until after final exams and the Christmas holiday.  WPI is back in action on Monday, December 29th taking on 2014 NCAA tournament finalist Williams at 5pm at the Salem State Classic.  MCLA is on the court the following day, squaring off with the host Bantams at 5pm in the Trinity Holiday Invitational. 

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