Norton, MA --- WPI, ranked No. 12 in the latest D3hoops.com national poll, shot 52.9-percent from the floor and used a 26-2 margin in points scored in the paint over the opening stanza to claim an eventual 89-43 victory over the Wheaton men's basketball team in NEWMAC action on Wednesday evening inside Emerson Gymnasium.
With the win, WPI has recorded its 12 straight 20 win season. This is the second longest streak in NCAA Division III men's basketball behind Wooster (OH) which has had 17 straight 20+ win seasons. The Fighting Scots entered play tonight with 18 wins this season with two games left on their regular schedule.
Four members of the Engineers scored double-digit points including senior guard Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) who tallied a team-high 15 points and four assists. First-year forward Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) and senior forward Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) each chipped in with 12 points apiece, while Mastascusa also pulled down a game-high nine caroms in way to WPI's season-high 50 team boards.
Prior to tonight's game, Wheaton seniors Mike Cannon (New York, NY), Eddie Capstick (Worcester, MA), Mike O'Loughlin (Milford, NH) and K.J. Pontes (Dorchester, MA) were all honored for their contributions towards the men's basketball program.
Lyons junior guard Billy Battaglia (Simsbury, CT) led all scorers in the game with 17 points. Battaglia shot 6-for-12 from the field (3-for-7 3PT, 2-for-2 FT), pulled down three rebounds and recorded three steals in 31 minutes of action. Cannon added seven points, three boards and two assists in the effort, while Pontes led the Blue and White with four rebounds this evening.
Wheaton pulled out to an early 8-7 lead after Battaglia sank a jumper and scored five of eight Lyons points over opening 4:32 of the first stanza. WPI quickly responded with a 17-2 run to grow its margin to 26-10 with 9:12 left on the clock in the first half. The spurt featured four points from four different Engineers including first-year forward Obi Obiora (Boston, MA), Rodgers, Longwell and sophomore forward John Mastascusa (North Reading, MA).
WPI and Wheaton traded baskets over the final minutes of the opening half as the Engineers outscored the Lyons by a slim 15-11 margin to make the score 41-21 at the break.
In the second half, the Engineers outscored the Lyons 48-22 to claim an eventual 89-43 road victory.
Wheaton shot 27.8-percent (15-for-54) from the field, 25.9-percent (7-for-27) from long range and 54.5-percent (6-for-11) from the charity stripe. WPI shot 52.9-percent from the floor (36-for-68), 22.7-percent (5-for-22) from beyond the arc and 75.0-percent (12-for-16) from the free throw line. WPI held a 50-8 advantage in points in the paint and a out rebounded the hosts 50-23.
Both teams return to action this Saturday, February 21 to close out the regular season. Wheaton (4-19, 1-11 NEWMAC) heads to Emerson for a conference matchup at 1 p.m., while WPI (20-4, 10-3 NEWMAC) heads home to take on Clark in NEWMAC action at 2pm.
Release Courtesy Wheaton Sports Information