WORCESTER -- A 11-0 run just over midway through the second half was the difference in a 78-68 WPI men's basketball victory over Wheaton on Saturday afternoon at Harrington Auditorium.
Aidan Callahan (Rowley, MA) tied things up at 56-all with a game-changing and-one with 9:46 left in the game, and the Engineers used that momentum to race out to an eight-point lead.. A John Lowther (Hingham, MA) steal resulted in a Wheaton foul and a pair of free throws, which gave WPI its first lead of the game at the 9:30 mark, followed by back-to-back treys from Lowther and Tim Reidy (Wellesley, MA) to give the Engineers a 64-56 lead, one that Wheaton would not be able to overcome.
With the victory, No. 12 WPI remains undefeated in conference action (14-2, 6-0) while Wheaton falls to 8-8 overall and 3-3 in NEWMAC play.
Lowther, who was hot down the stretch for the Engineers, put up 17 points on the outing, all of which came in the second half of play, while also adding seven rebounds. Callahan finished with a team-high 20 points and five assists. Donovan Sevilla (San Ramon, CA) added 14 points and John Adams (Douglas, MA) finished with yet another double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the outing. The double-double marked his second-straight, fourth this season and 20th of his career.
Wheaton was led by Aaron Williams (Springfield, MA) who had a game-high 24-point effort while also adding nine rebounds. Alex Carlisle (Saint Johnsbury, VT) added 15 points, five assists and four boards while Evan Cook put up 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting while dishing out five assists.
Wheaton got out to an early 11-4 lead four minutes into the game and was able to hang on to it for a while, but WPI carved away at it in the final eight minutes of action. With Wheaton up 23-14 with 7:45 left, WPI made its run, with back-to-back makes from Adams and Callahan. After a pair of Evan Cook (Dubstable, MA) jumpers, a pair of free throws from Ben Sseruwagi (Belmont, MA) free throws were bookended by two Sevilla jumpers to cut the Wheaton lead to two, 29-27.
Carlisle made a jumper, which Callahan matched. Then Carlisle made a pair of free throws, which Sevilla answered with a trey to cut Wheaton's lead down to one, 33-32 at the half.
In the second half, Andrew Lufkin (Auburn, NH) knocked down a trey for the Engineers' first points of the half followed by a Sevilla three to even things out at 38-all. The two teams traded buckets for the next eight minutes until Callahan's energy-lifting and-one which changed the game and gave WPI the victory.
Both teams shot well on the afternoon with WPI finishing with a 46.7 field goal percentage while Wheaton shot 46.4 from the floor. WPI hit a couple more threes (9-7) than the Lyons, outrebounded Wheaton 38-29 and outassisted Wheaton 19-11. Both teams were even in the paint, 30-30.
The Engineers will look to continue to keep their six-game win-streak rolling at home against Coast Guard on Wednesday, Jan. 25 at 7pm while the Lyons will try and bounce back at home against MIT also on Wednesday, but at 6pm.