WORCESTER, Mass. - The Worcester State University men's basketball team could not stop the high powered offense of Worcester Polytechnic Institute on Tuesday evening, falling to the Engineers by a final score of 90-71 in non-conference action at the Harrington Auditorium.
With the loss, the Lancers drop to 2-4 on the season, while the Engineers stay perfect at 4-0.
Sophomores Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, Mass.) and Ethan Harrell (Wexford, Pa.) combined for 31 points off the bench in the first half in the Engineer triumph.
Wheeler and Worcester State junior Will Watkins Jr. (Southbridge, Mass.) shared game-high honors with 16 points apiece while Harrell scored a career-high 15 points for the Engineers. Sophomore Reid Walker (Lithia, Fla.) notched a double-double of 10 points and a game-best 11 rebounds. Sophomore Garrett Stephenson (Townsend, Mass.) added 15 points, followed by sophomore Jake Needleman (Morganville, N.J.) with 13, and sophomore Colin McNamara (Arlington, Mass.) with 10. McNamara paced everyone with six assists and three steals. Junior Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, Mass.) stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, four assists, two rebounds, a block and a steal.
Lancers joining Watkins in double-digit scoring were junior Tyler Dion (Barre, Mass.) with 14, classmates Cal Howes (Maynard, Mass.) and Shaun McCarthy (Oxford, Mass.) with 10 each. Reigning WACBA Rookie of the Week freshman Eddie Hassell (Milton, Mass.) came off the bench to notch eight points and gobble up a team-best eight rebounds.
After Stephenson and Needleman teamed up to give the hosts a 10-0 lead 2:27 into the contest, Dion put the Lancers on the board with a second-chance layup at 16:54. WPI then built a 35-point cushion following a 3-pointer by Harrell with 1:18 left in the first half. Hassell used a layup and two free throws as part of a Lancer 6-2 run the rest of the way.
Dion converted a traditional three-point play to get within 24 just over four minutes into the second half. Worcester State continued to chip away and, thanks to five by Watkins and three consecutive 3-pointers by Howes, made it a 14-point game midway through the frame. WPI pushed back out to 23 twice only to see the Lancers go on an 8-1 run, featuring triples by Dion and sophomore Joe Desormier (Granby, Mass.). The Engineers scored the last three points of the game at the charity stripe for the 90-71 final.
Worcester State shot 51.6 percent from the floor, and 54.5 percent from downtown, in the second half after connecting on 28.8 and 8.3 percent, respectively. WPI also had a tale of two halves as it was 56.4 and 55.6 in the first 20 minutes before cooling off to go 32.1 and 12.5. The Engineers bench totaled 34 of the 46 points by the reserves and held margins in the paint (34-24), off turnovers (23-10), and fast break points (6-4). The Lancers doubled up the hosts 14-7 in second chance points.
WPI will be back in action a week from Tuesday, traveling to Tufts for a 7 p.m. tip on November 27. The Lancers next take the floor on the road against Lasell on November 29.
Release courtesy of WPI Athletic Communications.