Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), ranked eighth overall in the latest D3hoops.com national poll, opened up a 26-21 halftime lead with a 32-point second half to defeat the Wheaton College men's basketball team, 58-41, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action on Saturday afternoon at Emerson Gymnasium.
Sophomore forward Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass./Marianapolis Prep) notched six points, brought down eight rebounds and collected one steal and one assist for the hosts. Senior guard Scott Faucher (Lebanon, N.H./Kimball Union Academy) led Wheaton in scoring with eight points on 3-of-5 shooting, three rebounds, two steals and one assist. Classmate Brian Johnson(Roxbury, Mass./Brimmer and May School) compiled four points, a team-high nine rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist.
The Engineers were paced offensively by sophomore guard Sam Longwell (Acton, Mass./Acton-Boxboro) who poured in a game-high 22 points on 8-for-16 shooting, including a 3-for-5 showing from long distance, and nine rebounds. Classmate Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, Mass./Malden Catholic) turned in ten points, three boards, two steals and one assist while sophomore guard Marco Coppola (Watertown, Mass./Watertown) had seven points, three assists, one rebound and one steal.
WPI shot 40.4-percent from the field (21-for-52), 40.9-percent from beyond the arc (9-for-22) and 63.6-percent at the line (7-for-11). Wheaton connected on 30.4-percent of its field goals (14-for-46), 17.6-percent from long distance (3-for-17) and 62.5-percent at the line (10-for-16). The Lyons outrebounded the visitors, 35-32, and also held a slim 11-9 advantage in points off of turnovers. WPI committed six fewer turnovers (20-14) in the contest and outscored the hosts, 20-13, bench points.
Ahead 26-21 at halftime, the Engineers stretched their gap to 12 points with an 8-1 run to begin the second stanza. Coppola and Longwell knocked down one 3-pointer apiece at 17:58 and 16:13, respectively to highlight the run. Mastascusa and senior forward Joe Wesoloski (Arlington, Mass./Arlington Catholic) both converted one free throw shot in between the pair of three-pointers.
Wheaton came within eight points (38-30) at 13:47 as Johnson swished home two free throws but freshman guard Zach Karalis (North Andover, Mass./North Andover) answered with a three-ball at 13:28 for the Engineers to push their lead back to double-digits for good. WPI led by as many as 20 points (58-38) with 1:12 remaining in the contest.
The Lyons held a two-point lead (13-11) midway through the first half as they erased an early 7-0 deficit with a 13-4 run. Freshman Billy Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn./The Taft School) and O'Loughlin guided Wheaton during that stretch with four points each.
Wheaton (6-7, 0-3 NEWMAC) visits Springfield College for a NEWMAC matchup Wednesday, Jan. 16 at 7 p.m. No.8 ranked WPI (16-0, 3-0 NEWMAC) hosts Clark University on Wednesday in a NEWMAC clash at 7 p.m.