WPI Holds Off Men's Basketball, 70-61

WPI Holds Off Men's Basketball, 70-61

WORCESTER, Mass.—Sophomore Jake Needleman (Morganville, N.J.) scored a game-high 17 points and WPI outscored visiting Babson College 19-10 over the final 6:53 of regulation to pull out a 70-61 victory in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Wednesday night inside Harrington Auditorium.

Babson, which has dropped five of its last six games, slips to 13-9 overall an 6-5 in league play, while WPI improves to 17-5 overall and 8-3 in the NEWMAC.

Junior Andrew Jaworski (Tolland, Conn.) led four players in double figures with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while junior Frank Oftring (North Attleboro, Mass.) finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for the Beavers. Classmate Jack Coolahan (Newtown, Pa.) also scored 11 points, senior Brandon Johnson (Mount Vernon, N.Y.) chipped in with 10 points and junior Shyheim Ulrickson (Topsham, Maine) dished out a game-high six assists.

Needleman went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc, sophomore Reid Walker (Lithia, Fla.) scored 14 points, and junior Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, Mass.) posted a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Engineers.

With the score tied for the third and final time at 51-51 following a Jaworski three-pointer with 7:49 remaining, first-year Casey Shane (West Hartford, Conn.) nailed a jumper and followed with a layup to spark a six-point run that put WPI in front for good. The spurt was capped by a Walker layup that put the Engineers ahead 57-51 with 4:02 to go. All told, the WPI defense held the Beavers scoreless for a 4:08 stretch and without a field goal for a span of 4:45.

Babson got back to within three points twice down the stretch, the last of which came at 61-58 thanks to a layup by Oftring with 2:31 remaining, but sophomore Kahleb Downing (Middletown, Conn.) answered with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession and Wisniewski scored six points over the final 1:14 to put the game away.

Jaworski and Johnson combined to scored 10 points as the Green and White built a 13-9 lead six minutes into the contest. The Beavers were held scoreless over the next five-plus minutes though, and made just two field goals during a stretch of nearly 11 minutes as WPI ripped off a 26-6 run to take a 35-19 advantage, its biggest of the game, on a Needleman triple with 3:33 left in the first half.

Babson got within 38-27 at the break and made eight of its first 10 shots to pull even at 46-46 on a transition bucket by first-year Colin Bradanese (Billerica, Mass.) with 10:47 to go in the game.

The Beavers shot 56.5 percent in the second half and 46.7 percent for the game. The Engineers shot 48.1 percent on the night and outscored the visitors 29-14 in the paint.

Both teams return to action on Saturday at 1 p.m. as Babson travels to Wheaton, while WPI visits Emerson.

GAME NOTES
• The Beavers are 49-31 all-time against WPI but had their eight-game winning streak in the series snapped with Wednesday's loss.
• Babson is just 3-9 when allowing 70 or more points this winter.
• Over the last three games the Beavers have made 37 three-pointers and are shooting 48.7 from behind the arc.
• Babson's 24 rebounds in Wednesday's loss are a season low.

Note: Portions of this release courtesy of WPI.