The Wheaton College men's basketball team received double-digit scoring nights from five separate players to defeat Worcester State University, 76-65, in a non-conference matchup in Emerson Gymnasium on Thursday.
Wheaton senior guard Scott Faucher (Lebanon, N.H./Central Catholic) registered a season-high 16 points, four steals and three assists. Sophomore forward Ryan Clinesmith (New York, N.Y./The Hill School) tallied 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the floor, six rebounds and three steals. Freshman guard Billy Battaglia(Simsbury, Conn./The Taft School) compiled 13 points while senior forward Brian Johnson (Roxbury, Mass./Brimmer and May School)and sophomore forward Mike O'Loughlin (Milford, N.H./Milford)contributed ten points apiece.
Junior forward Robert Hunter (St. Louis, Mo./Normandy) paced the Lancers with 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting, five rebounds, three steals, one blocked shot and one assist. Senior guard Kyle Ferreira (Westport, Mass./Diman Voc. Tech) added 12 points, five caroms, two assists and one steal. Classmate Monte Goodwin (Boston, Mass./Belmont) chipped in with 12 points, five boards and two assists.
After claiming a 38-31 lead at halftime, the Lyons raced out to a 51-39 advantage using a 13-8 run over the opening six minutes and 42-seconds of play in the second stanza. O'Loughlin completed an old-fashioned three-point play at 19:01 to get the offense going and Faucher followed with four-straight free throws at 16:24 and 15:43 to push the score to 45-39.
Sophomore guard Jaycob Morales (Lawrence, Mass./Central Catholic) took over on the next two scoring plays for Wheaton to give the Lyons a ten point lead (49-39). The sophomore guard put home a layup at 14:57 and also ran the fastbreak with efficiency feeding Clinesmith for a one-handed dunk at the 14:40 mark after intercepting a pass near the halfcourt line. Battaglia capped the scoring at 13:18 with a fastbreak bucket of his own for Wheaton's biggest lead of the night at 12 points (51-39).
Worcester State clawed back into the contest with a 22-11 scoring run to come within a one point deficit, 62-61, with 5:33 remaining on the clock. Jobst, Hunter and junior forward Jeremy Ross (Holden, Mass./Wachusett) guided the run with four points each. Hunter gave the Lancers some needed momentum at 11:36 as he threw down a two-handed fastbreak slam on a baseball pass from Goodwin who hauled in a defensive rebound on the right block.
Battaglia and Ross exchanged layups over the next two possessions before Johnson swished a three-pointer from the left corner at 4:38 to squander Worcester State's rally for good. The Lyons, who never trailed in the game, shot 70-percent (7-for-10) from the free throw line down the stretch – including a 4-for-6 showing from Morales – to close out their second win over the Lancers in 2012-13. Earlier this season, Wheaton beat Worcester State in the Hampton Inn Classic championship round, hosted by UMass Dartmouth, by a score of 78-66 on Saturday, November 17, 2012.
Wheaton (9-11, 1-7 NEWMAC) travels to Worcester Polytechnic Institute, who is currently ranked no.4 in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 National Poll, on Wednesday, February 6 at 7 p.m. for a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. Worcester State (10-10, 4-4 MASCAC) visits MCLA this Saturday for a Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC) matchup at 5:30 p.m.