Second Half Surge Carries WPI Past MIT, 69-56

Junior Justin Pedley
Junior Justin Pedley

WORCESTER, Mass. – WPI broke open a close game in the final 10 minutes of the contest to pull away from MIT and take a 69-56 victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball game. Junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) hit five three pointers on his way to a 21-point outing to lead MIT, while WPI was led by 20 points from senior Sam Longwell (Acton, Mass.). 

WPI (18-4, 8-3 NEWMAC) jumped out to an early 6-1 lead over the first five minutes of the contest, with all six points coming from senior Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, Mass.). MIT (15-6, 8-3 NEWMAC) came back with back-to-back treys from Pedley, and then another from junior Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) that put the Engineers up 10-8 seven minutes in.

Midway through the half another three from Pedley had MIT up 17-11, but a Longwell long-range shot kept WPI close. With five minutes left in the half the contest was tied at 19-all after a jumper from junior Clyde Niba (Atlanta, Ga.), with that shot starting a 10-0 run for WPI that led to a 29-23 advantage at the half.

WPI still led by six three minutes into the second half when a layup from senior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) and a Pedley three cut the MIT deficit to just a point at 36-35. WPI led by as many as five points over the next few minutes, but MIT stayed close and at the midway mark of the half a pair of free throws by Pedley had MIT within three at 45-42.

Longwell then connected on a pair of shots in the span of a minute and that started a WPI surge that decided the game. MIT connected on just one basket over the next five minutes while WPI heated up from the floor, hitting on five straight field goal attempts that led to a 13-2 run for the Engineers. Longwell scored 10 points of the surge, including a three that had WPI up 59-44 with 6:35 left. 

That was enough to put the game away for WPI, as it answered every attempt by MIT to put together a late run and get back into the contest. In the second half WPI shot 56 percent from the floor and hit in 9-of-14 free throw attempts as they split the regular season series with MIT. For the game WPI out shot MIT by a 47.4 to 38.0 percent margin and also held a 39-26 advantage on the boards.

In addition to Pedley, MIT saw Frankel reach double figures with 16 points while Acker finished with eight points and a team-high nine rebounds. Niba and Mastascusa also reached double figures for WPI, with each adding 14 points for the Engineers. Longwell finished with a double-double for WPI, pulling down 14 rebounds.

MIT will play next at home; hosting Wheaton College in a NEWMAC game on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. WPI will be on the road Saturday with a 2:00 p.m. match up with the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.