WPI Hands No. 3 Men's Basketball First Loss of the Season
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Leading by one, 54-53, with 9:40 to go, visiting WPI went on a 12-2 run over the next 3:17 to open up an 11-point lead en route to an 80-68 upset of No. 3 MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action Saturday afternoon. The loss is the first of the season for the Cardinal and Gray, who fall to 16-1 and 4-1 in NEWMAC play. The Worcester Engineers improve to 14-3 overall with the win, which was number 200 in the career of head coach Chris Bartley, and are also 4-1 in league play.
Four different players scored in double-figures for MIT, led by junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) with 22 points, including 18 in the second half. Kates added seven assists and four rebounds for Tech. Senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) had 15 points and four rebounds.
Freshman Sam Longwell (Acton, Mass.), who had a pair of key baskets during the decisive second-half run, finished with 14 points. Senior Matt Carr (Somersworth, N.H.) led WPI with 18 points and eight boards.
After Kates' layup closed the gap to one, at 54-53, Carr responded with a traditional three-point play at the other end to begin the 12-2 stretch. Another layup by Kates on the ensuing possession would be the hosts' only points for over four minutes, as the Crimson and Gray began to take over.
Freshman Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, Mass.) had a pair of buckets sandwiched around a three from Longwell. Longwell then capped the run, as Carr found the freshman guard for a layup to put WPI ahead 66-55 and force a Tech timeout with 6:23 to play.
The homestanding Engineers would cut the deficit to single-digits on two occasions but got no closer than nine, as WPI iced the game at the foul line, making 10-of-12 free throws over the final 2:08.
MIT led by as many as 10 in the first half, after senior Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, W. Va.) connected from long-distance to give the hosts a 32-22 lead with 7:01 left in the opening stanza. Kates found Hollingsworth for a three-point play with five seconds remaining in the half but senior Jamie Shannon (Lowell, Mass.) hit a floater at the buzzer to close the halftime deficit to four at 41-37.
The teams traded baskets early in the second, with WPI trying the game three times before finally taking its first lead since the opening minutes on a layup by David Brown (Lowell, Mass.) at the 11:46 mark. MIT would not lead again the rest of the game, as WPI began its game-clinching run just over two minutes later.
All five of WPI's starters scored in double digits, as Shannon (17), Brown and Ryan Kolb (Southington, Conn.), with 10 apiece, joined Longwell and Carr. The visitors also had a 13-2 advantage in second-chance points, thanks to eight offensive boards, and a 14-9 edge in points off turnovers.
Both teams will return to league play on Wednesday, January 25. MIT will look to rebound when it hosts Clark University while WPI travels to Springfield College. Both games begin at 7:00 p.m.