Five Register Double Digit Scoring in Men's Basketball’s Matinee Triumph

James Loring

WORCESTER – Five WPI men's basketball student-athletes registered double digits in scoring, including a career-best 12 by sophomore James Loring (Norton, MA) as the Engineers defeated visiting Eastern Nazarene, 88-72, Friday afternoon in Harrington Auditorium.

The Crimson and Gray close out the 2016 portion of the schedule with a 9-2 record. For seniors Ian Converse (Woodstock, CT) and Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) it was their 39th regular season out of conference triumph in 44 possible games. The Lions, meanwhile, slip to 4-6 on the season.

After five ties and four lead changes, senior Christian Lynch (Alpharetta, GA) put the Lions ahead 16-14 with a jumper at 13:16. Freshman Andrew Mitchell (Campobello, SC) increased the guests lead to four only to have junior Dave Zielinski (Shelton, CT) hit a three to make it a one-point (18-17) game at 11:28. With 10:10 left in the half, Freshman Noah Cheney (Bend, OR) sank a three to give Eastern Nazarene a six-point (23-17) advantage, its largest of the afternoon.

From there, freshman Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) went on a personal 6-0 run to ignite an Engineer 15-0 outburst, which was capped by a layup by sophomore Jamani Spencer (Closter, NJ) at 5:48. A Converse dunk during the spurt gave the hosts the lead for good at 8:28. The teams then traded buckets until Doncaster put the Crimson and Gray up by 11 (40-29) with 3:36 until the break. The teams settled on a nine point margin thanks to a pair of free throws by junior Connor Willgress (Mill Creek, WA) with 0.3 on the clock.

WPI enjoyed three 16-point lead on three occasions in the second half. A 10-0 Lion run cut the deficit to eight with 10:39 to play. The Engineers then scored 25 of the next 33 points to claim their largest lead (84-59) of the contest at 4:53. Eastern Nazarene clawed its way under 20 points thanks to a layup by senior Corey Doran (Fairfield, CA) with 3:00 to play.

Doncaster poured in 20 points on 6 of 8 shooting from the field, including 4 for 4 beyond the arc and 4 for 4 at the charity stripe, to go with six assists. Converse, Zielinski (three steals) each had 12 points and Wisniewski pitched in with 11. Junior Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) paced the Boynton Hillers with eight boards. Spencer handed out five helpers.

Lynch, who had 14 points in the first half, and Doran each finished with 20 points for Eastern Nazarene. Lynch also corralled seven rebounds and two steals, and doled out five assists,

The Lions had the advantage in field goal percentage (56.1 to 45.9) while the Engineers were better from downtown (39.1 to 45.3). Points in the paint (34-34) and fast break points (4-4) were even as the hosts controlled points off turnovers (26-12), second chance points (18-4) and bench points (39-13).

WPI begins NEWMAC action Wednesday at home versus Springfield at 5pm. Eastern Nazarene resumes its CCC slate Tuesday hosting Roger Williams at 7pm.

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