Defense and Rebounding Push No. 13 Men's Basketball by MIT 69-56

Clyde Niba

Worcester, MA --- Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) registered a team-high 20 points and a game-best 14 rebounds and Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) and Clyde Niba (Atlanta, GA) both pitched in with 14 points as WPI defeated visiting MIT 69-56 in a NEWMAC men's basketball game played Wednesday evening in Harrington Auditorium.

WPI, ranked 13th nationally in the latest D3hoops Top 25 and eighth in the initial NCAA Division New England regional rankings, moved to 18-4 on the season while MIT dips to 15-6 overall.  Both teams are 8-3 in NEWMAC play, two games behind front-running Babson, who defeated Springfield tonight 76-57, with the games remaining. 

MIT led 19-17 following a pair of free throws by Tim Butala (Monroe, CT) with 6:46 to go before intermission before WPI seized the lead for good with a 10-0 spurt featuring four points by Mastascusa and baskets by Longwell, Niba and Obi Obiora (Boston, MA).   The run helped Worcester's Engineers to a 29-23 advantage into the locker room at the break despite a pair of jumpers by MIT's Ryan Frankel in the final 64 seconds of the stanza. 

After shooting just over 40% from the field in the first half, the hosts shot well in the second, draining 14-of-25 (56.0%) attempts and getting to the free throw line 14 times, as opposed to just once in the opening 20 minutes.  MIT never took a lead after the break but kept it very close until WPI rattled off 15 of 17 points to push a 45-42 advantage at the midway point of the second half to a 60-44 bulge with 5:44 to go.  The uprising was spearheaded by Longwell, who poured in 10 points during the run. 

The double-double was Longwell's fifth of the season and eighth of his career.  The 14 rebounds were a career-high with 13 coming off the defensive glass and the senior canned 3-of-4 3-point attempts on the night.  Obiora added eight points and five rebounds for the hosts while Sean Doncaster (Medfield, MA) filled the stat sheets with five points, five rebounds and four assists.  John Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) provided energy off the bench for the Crimson and Gray, scoring five points and helping WPI to a 39-26 edge in points in the paint and a 30-16 advantage in points in the paint. 

Justin Pedley (Kennewick, WA) paced all scorers with 21 points for MIT.  The senior netted a game-best five 3-pointers.  Frankel, who is averaging more than 40 minutes per game, played the entire game, amassing 16 points, six rebounds and four assists while Andrew Levene (Merion Station, PA) totaled eight points and nine rebounds to narrowly miss a double-double of his own. 

WPI kicks off a two-game road trip Saturday with a 2pm matchup at Coast Guard.  MIT heads home Saturday to host Wheaton at the same time.

 

A photo posted by WPI Athletics (@wpiathletics) on Feb 11, 2015 at 7:02pm PST

 

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