Adams, Callahan Key No. 8 Men's Basketball to First Division III Victory of 2022-23

WPI Men's Basketball Crowd 2022-23

WORCESTER -- Preseason All-Americas John Lowther (Hingham, MA) and John Adams (Douglas, MA) hooked up on a basket with 21.5 seconds remaining as the eighth-ranked WPI Engineers opened the 2022-23 Division III men's basketball season with a pulsating 73-71 victory over city rival Worcester State before a raucous crowd inside Harrington Auditorium on Tuesday morning.  

The game tipped at 12:01am Tuesday morning and was the first in the nation of about 5,500 contests scheduled among Division III schools this season and drew a large crowd from both schools totaling 2,200, the most to attend an opening college game in the city of Worcester on Monday or Tuesday. WPI has now won 20 straight season openers. 

WPI led by as many as 10 points with just under eight minutes remaining but the upset-minded Lancers chipped away and got to within a point on an Erik Bjorn (Holden, MA) layup with just under two minutes left and surged ahead 70-69 on a Sam Dion (Barre, MA) jumper with 39.8 seconds remaining. The Engineers came down and, with the action forced to the left side of the court, Lowther found a cutting Adams down the right side for a go-ahead layup with 21.5 seconds to go.  

WSU came down and looked to regain the lead, but Donovan Sevilla (San Ramon, CA) stepped in and took a charge with 7.0 seconds left.   After the guests almost forced a turnover on the ensuing inbounds pass, Adams shook free and hit a wide-open layup with 3.6 seconds left to make it 73-70.  The Crimson and Gray elected to foul and Brandon Goris (Bronx, NY) drained the first free throw before intentionally missing the second, but WPI's Brett Marelli (Hampton, NH) gobbled up the rebound and time expired. 

Adams finished a rebound short of his 17th career double-double, registering 21 points and nine boards.  Aidan Callahan (Rowley MA) added a career-best 17 points.  The sophomore shot 7-of-10 from the floor, including 3-of-4 from downtown.  Lowther chipped in with 11 points and four assists while Sevilla established a new career-high with 10 points and Andrew Lufkin (Auburn, NH) finished with nine.    

Aaron Nkrumah (Worcester, MA) totaled 16 of his team-best 19 points in the first half for Worcester State while Dion amassed 13 of his 15 points after intermission.  Bjorn posted a double-double, acquiring 10 points and 10 rebounds and Tayjaun McKenzie (Boston, MA) tallied 10 points. 

Neither team led by more than three points during the opening 11 minutes until WPI used an 8-2 run, punctuated by a three-pointer by Sevilla to give the Engineers a 27-20 advantage with 7:11 to go before intermission. The Lancers clawed back to tie the game at 30 and went on to take a trio of two-point leads before halftime with the final one coming on a Sam Dion (Barre, MA) fade away jumper with five seconds remaining to give the visitors a 36-34 edge at the break. 

For the game WPI connected on 41.7% (10-of-24) of 3-pointers and outscored the Lancers 13-2 on fast break points.  WSU shot over 50% (50.9%) from the floor and saw its reserves outscore the Engineer bench 18-5.

WPI closes out a two-game season-opening homestand on Saturday, hosting Rutgers-Newark at 2pm.  Worcester State begins play Friday in the Wheaton Tournament, squaring off with Hunter (NY) at 5pm.

Photo courtesy of WPI Athletics Student Assistant Megan DeSanty