Callahan Swipes 10 Steals, Newman Spearheads Bench Effort for No. 8 Men's Basketball

JR Newman - WPI Men's Basketball 2022

WORCESTER -- Reigning NEWMAC Defensive Player of the Week Aidan Callahan (Rowley, MA) anchored a stifling defensive effort with a career-best 10 steals and J.R. Newman (Havertown, PA) highlighted a 57-point bench performance with a game-high 16 as the nationally-ranked WPI men's basketball team posted a 90-24 victory over visiting Fitchburg State on Tuesday evening. 

WPI, ranked No.8 in the preseason D3hoops.com Top 25, remains undefeated on the season at 5-0 and have now won 12 straight regular season contests and 19 consecutive games played in Harrington Auditorium.  Fitchburg State enters the Thanksgiving break with a 2-6 mark.  

After a Callahan steal and layup to get the Engineers on the board, the hosts ended up with a 10-0 game-opening run, keeping the Falcons scoreless on their opening nine possessions, missing on their first eight shots and three turnovers before Quincy Taylor (Boston, MA) broke the drought with a put-back layup 6:23 into the contest.  The hosts responded with a 24-0 spurt, highlighted by rookie Newman, who tallied 11 first half points.  

Callahan, whose previous career standard for steals was three, more that doubled in the opening 9:17, with eight before the first stanza was halfway through, including swipes on seven straight FSU possessions.  The sophomore was a point short of his first career double-double, connecting on 4-of-7 shots from the field, including a 3-pointer.

Newman led WPI with 16 points while adding three rebounds. Tim Reidy (Wellesley, MA) hit his career high with 13 points and John Lowther (Hingham, MA) reached double digits in scoring with 10.  Andrew Lufkin (Auburn, NH) gobbled up eight boards and doled out three assists, sharing team-high honors in helpers with Lowther and senior Ben Sseruwagi (Belmont, MA) and freshman Adam Patterson (New York, NY).

Both teams will celebrate Thanksgiving with a long break in game action, returning to the court on Saturday, December 3rd with 2pm contests.  WPI will venture to Clinton, NY to angle will Hamilton, while Fitchburg State will continue its run of games against schools nicknamed Engineers, hosting MIT. 

Taylor was just shy of a double-double for the Falcons, accounting for a game-best 10 boards and eight points. Jordan Polanco (Methuen, MA) chipped in six points and two rebounds. 

The Engineers shot 51.4 percent on the night, 44.0 percent from beyond the arc. The Falcons averaged 16.7 percent from the field with 11.1 percent from down deep. WPI totaled 19 steals on the game and notched 57 bench points. FSU had 12 offensive rebounds and nine second chance points. 

The 24 points allowed by the Crimson and Gray is now the lowest during the Chris Bartley era, as WPI allowed 37 versus Newbury on December 5th, 2013, and 38 on three different occasions (at Framingham State on 1/4/20, vs. Babson on 1/5/13 and vs. Fitchburg State on 1/8/04).  Prior that, the Engineers held Westover Air Force Base to 30 points on January 12th, 1952, a span of 1,615 games. 

Majority of recap written by WPI Sports Information Student Assistant Maya Vartabedian '24