Rodgers' Career-Best 21 Points Sparks WPI by Clark in CharterTV3 Game

Chris Rodgers

WORCESTER -- WPI junior Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) pumped in a career-high 21 points and the visiting Engineers bested their crosstown rival Clark for the 13th consecutive time, 78-58, in NEWMAC men's basketball action on Wednesday night.

WPI (11-5, 2-3 NEWMAC) came out on fire, racing out to a huge lead less than ten minutes into the contest as Dave Zielinski (Shelton, CT) continued his torrid shooting of late, connecting on three three-pointers in the game's first seven minutes. 

That hot shooting combined with five early turnovers by Clark as well as easy baskets by Ian Converse (Woodstock, CT) and Jamani Spencer (Closter, NJ) had the Engineers in front 27-9. 

Clark (10-6, 2-3 NEWMAC) methodically mounted their comeback over the final nine minutes of the half as three-pointers from Brendan Kittredge (Clinton, MA) and Joe Atkinson (Milford, MA) were sandwiched around eight free throws as part of a half-ending 24-10 burst that revitalized the Cougars, sending them into intermission trailing just 37-33. 

The Cougars continued to stay within striking distance in the opening moments of the second half and following three-pointers from Atkinson and John Pisacreta (Andover, MA) the Scarlet and White were within five. 

An excellent look ahead feed by Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) to a streaking Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) ignited a quick 9-0 WPI run capped by a James Loring (Norton, MA) finish that made the score 57-43. 

Clark continued to fight and when Kittredge drilled another three-pointer with a little more than ten minutes to go, the Cougars trailed just 59-51. 

WPI, however, went on another run, this one a 10-0 spurt that featured five points from Rodgers and another three from Zielinski that put the Engineers ahead by 18. 

A few minutes later the WPI lead was still 15 and when Converse dropped in a three-pointer to push the advantage back to 18 with 3:11 left, the game was no longer in doubt.

WPI shot a sizzling 54 percent from the field for the game, including a fiery 65 percent in the final 20 minutes. 

The Engineers also had 21 assists – led by Doncaster's eight – attached to their 30 made baskets and with Converse leading the way (16 points), the WPI reserves outscored the Clark bench, 34-15.

In addition to Rogers and Converse, Zielinski finished with 12 points on four three-pointers and Doncaster contributed six points, those eight assists and four rebounds. Meanwhile, both Wisniewski and Spencer chipped in with eight points.

David Mercier (Milford, MA) racked up a team-best 13 points and four rebounds, while Atkinson added 12 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals. Both Kittredge and Luca McCormick (Bradenton, FL) finished with nine points as well.

Both teams will play home league contests on Saturday. WPI will welcome Wheaton for a 2pm showdown, while Clark hosts Springfield at 3pm.

Release Courtesy Clark Sports Information

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