WORCESTER -- In a rematch of the 2022 NEWMAC Championship title game, the No. 14 WPI men's basketball team upended Emerson, 64-53, on Saturday afternoon at Harrington Auditorium.
In a game that featured three preseason All-Americans, John Adams (Douglas, MA), John Lowther (Hingham, MA) from WPI and Jarred Houston (Norwood, MA) from Emerson, the trio did not disappoint as Adams and Lowther combined for 23 points, 19 rebounds and five assists while Houston finished with a double-double including 18 points, and 13 rebounds on the day.
J.R. Newman (Havertown, PA) led the WPI (12-2, 4-0 NEWMAC) with 16 points, off the bench, on 6-of-7 shooting while both Adams and Aidan Callahan (Rowley, MA) finished with 14 points apiece as Callahan added six rebounds and six assists on the day.
Both Houston and Nate Martin (Washington, DC) paced the Lions (8-7, 3-1 NEWMAC) with 18 points each.
Emerson entered the game scoring 75.2 points per game, which has improved to 85.3 in conference action, but was held to just 53 points on the day by the stingy WPI defense which leads the NCAA (all divisions) in Scoring Defense. Q
The first half was the difference maker in the game. It took three minutes of action before Emerson was able to get on the board first taking a 4-0 lead before Adams gave WPI its first points of the game at the 15 minute mark.
The teams traded buckets for the entirety of the first half before the Engineers closed out the half on a 7-0 run over the final two minutes of play. Adams got things going with a jumper followed by a free throw and Brett Marelli (Hampton, NH) added a layup before Adams closed things out with a jumper as the Engineers took a 24-17 halftime lead.
The second half was just like the first with back-and-forth action between the two teams for the entirety of the 20 minutes of play. WPI was able to build up a 10-point lead using a Newman three-pointer, a Callahan bucket and an Andrew Lufkin (Auburn, NH) free throw, but after trading shots, Emerson answered with a 9-0 run bookended by a pair of Houston shots and filled in the middle with a Trevor Arico (Ann Arbor, MI) trey and pair of free throws to make it a 38-37 game midway through the final stanza.
But WPI answered with back-to-back treys from Adams and Newman as the Engineers quickly built up another seven-point lead, which they were able to hang on en route to the victory.
With Emerson fouling down the stretch, the Engineers solidified their win behind free throws from Callahan and Lowther to finish with the win.
The Engineers held Emerson to 20-of-52 shooting on the day (38.5 pct) while shooting 26-of-63 from the field on their own (41.3). The Lions were only 4-of-21 from behind the arc (19.0) though WPI drained just one more three on the day (5-of-15).
WPI forced Emerson into 17 turnovers on the day, committing just 11 of their own, while making nine steals to Emerson's two. The Engineer's 13 offensive rebounds resulted in 11 second chance points, while Emerson's six offensive boards netted just five second chance points.
The Engineers are looking to stay undefeated in 2023 and improve upon their four-game win-streak on Wednesday, January 18 at Clark at 7pm while Emerson looks to bounce back also on Wednesday when they play host to Wheaton at 5pm.