Burlington, VT --- The WPI men's basketball team squared off with a Division I opponent for the first time in 11 years on Tuesday, dropping an 81-48 decision to Vermont in the Catamounts home opener on Tom Brennan Court in Patrick Gymnasium.
The game was designated as an exhibition contest for the Engineers, who are 3-0 on the season. Vermont, picked second in the America East Preseason Coaches' Poll, is 2-1 with a road victory at Northern Iowa and an 11-point road loss at No. 20 Maryland.
WPI jumped out to a 7-3 advantage in the early going, connecting on three of its four shots from the field, including a turn around jumper from junior John Lowther (Hingham, MA), a layup by sophomore John Adams (Douglas, MA) and a 3-pointer from graduate student Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) in the first 2:21. The hosts rattled off the next 15 points and never trailed the rest of the way, leading 44-22 at the half.
Lowther and Adams both reached double figures in scoring with 14 and 11 points respectively. Matt Maguire (Abington, MA) drained a quick trio of 3-pointers to finish with nine points, while Downing corralled a team-high five rebounds and Adams doled out a team-best four assists. All 17 Engineers played in the contest.
Ryan Davis (Schaumburg, IL), the reigning America East Player of the Year and a 2020-21 NABC All-District I first team selection led all players with 28 points for the hosts. Kam Gibson (Cincinnati, OH) chipped in with 11 points and Justin Mazzulla (Johnston, RI) reached double digits with 10. Davis and Isaiah Powell (Albany, NY) both hauled in nine rebounds and Powell added four assists.
The last time WPI played a Division I opponent was on December 7th, 2010 when the Engineers were defeated by Harvard 69-54. Two of WPI's current assistant coaches played in the game as Hall of Famer Jeff Robinson tallied 16 points and David Brown provided his trademark stellar defense against the Crimson.
WPI is back in action Saturday night when it faces Mitchell at 7:30 pm in the opening round of the Herb Kenny Tournament hosted by Wesleyan. Vermont closes out a brief two-game homestand on Friday with a 4 pm matchup against preseason Ivy League favorite Yale.