WORCESTER – WPI junior Dave Zielinski (Shelton, CT) poured in a game and career-high of 21 points - all from long range – to key an 86-64 NEWMAC men's basketball triumph over visiting Emerson Saturday in Harrington Auditorium.
With the win, the Engineers (10-5) secure their 10th of the season and first of the conference slate (1-3) while the Lions dip to 4-11 overall and 0-4 in the loop.
Zielinski accounted for five of the Boynton Hillers 10 3-pointers in the first half. After an early triple by junior Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA), the Engineers never looked back. With 8:06 until the break, sophomore James Loring (Norton, MA) sank a three to give the hosts the 39-16 advantage. Free throws were key for Emerson as it was able to get within 16 on four occasions in the final 5:39. Sophomore Geoffrey Gray (Newton, MA) then canned a pair of freebies with just a minute remaining to send the teams into the break separated by 17 (50-33).
Through the first 20 minutes, the Engineers shot 48.6 percent from the field and 52.6 from the outside while committing nine fewer turnovers. WPI also accounted for all nine points off turnovers and four fast break points. The Lions, however, did have the advantage in rebounds (22-16) and a 5-2 edge in second chance points.
Emerson was able to get back to within 16 three times in the second half; however, the Engineers increased the margin to 24 with just over five minutes to play.
For the game, WPI shot 47.9 percent, including 48.3 from beyond the arc and owned points in the paint (26-20), points off turnovers (23-6), fast break points (8-0) and bench points (40-17). Emerson improved on its field goal percentages while also controlling rebounding (41-30) and second chance points (13-6).
Freshman Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) totaled 14 points and eight rebounds as sophomore Jamani Spencer (Closter, NJ) added 14 points to go with six assists. Senior Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) doled out a game-best nine helpers and Rodgers finished with nine points. Eight Engineers combined to total 11 steals on the day.
Junior John Geary (Duxbury, MA) led Emerson with 15 points while Gray ended up with 14 points and eight boards. Junior Michael Sheng (Altadena, CA) contributed 10 points as freshman Alex Mrusek (Point Pleasant Beach, NJ) hauled in a team-best nine rebounds.
WPI heads down Park Ave to take on Clark in the annual CharterTV3 tilt beginning at 7pm. Emerson hosts Wheaton Wednesday at 7pm.
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