Fitchburg, MA --- The Fitchburg State men's basketball team saw four players reach double figures as the Falcons defeated WPI, 74-61 in no-conference action this afternoon at the Parkinson Gymnasium.
Fitchburg State was led by senior Jaleel Bell's (Dorchester, MA) 16 points, six rebounds, one assist and one steal, while classmate Leonny Burgos (Lawrence, MA) added 14 points, five caroms, four assists and two steals. Seniors Jalen Williams (Meriden, CT) (11 points) and Lance Hill (Springfield, MA) (12 points) also reached double figures for the Falcons.
WPI entered the contest ranked #23 in latest D3hoops.com men's basketball top 25 poll, was paced by senior Ian Converse (Woodstock, CT) with a double-double of 16 points and ten boards as well as two assists, one block and one steal, while freshman Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) chipped in with 14 points, eight boards, one assist, one block and one steal.
In the first half, the two teams traded buckets to open the contest as Burgos hit a layup for the Falcons, while junior Aaron Todd (York, ME) connected on a layup for the Engineers. Fitchburg State took its largest lead of the half (20-9), going on an 8-0 run midway through the frame as Hill buried a three pointer, while Williams and Bell added one basket each.
WPI slowly chipped away at the deficit, going on a 10-0 stretch to knot the score at 26-26 with 3:14 left in the half with Wisniewski and junior Dave Zielinski (Shelton, CT) knocking down a pair of treys, while sophomore Jamani Spencer (Closter, NJ) and Converse registered one bucket each before Bell capped the first half scoring with a layup late in the frame to give the Falcons a 36-33 advantage going into the break.
Following the intermission, Fitchburg State upped its to 43-37 with 16:33 remaining in the contest on a three pointer from Hill, but the Engineers responded with a 7-0 run to take a one-point lead (44-43) as junior Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) connected on a layup.
With the score knotted at 50-50, the Falcons put the game out of reach by outscoring WPI 16-2 over the next four and half minutes to take a 66-52 lead as Bell ignited the run with seven of 16 points, while Burgos added six points, en-route to the 74-61 final.
Overall, Fitchburg State shot 27-for-51 (42.2%) from the field, while going 16-of-26 (61.5%) from the charity stripe. WPI went 22-for-55 (40.0%) overall, along with a 4-for-18 (22.2%) mark from downtown.
WPI (5-2) will host MCLA and Fitchburg State (3-3) travels to Clark for 7pm contests on Tuesday.
Release Courtesy Fitchburg State Sports Information