- Score: WPI 55, No. 7 MIT 53
- Records: No. 7 MIT (22-4), WPI (19-8)
- Location: Cambridge, Mass. (Rockwell Cage)
- The Lead: WPI's Colin McNamara knocked down a jumper at the buzzer as No. 5 seeded WPI defeated No. 1 seeded MIT by a 55-53 final in the NEWMAC semifinals on Thursday night at Rockwell Cage. The game featured eight lead changes and five ties before coming down to the final possession.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The teams got out to a close start over the first 6:50, capped by a dunk from sophomore Hamilton Forsythe (Weston, Conn.) that gave the hosts a 10-9 advantage. Over the next 6:04, WPI went on a 13-3 run behind six points by Garrett Stephenson to jump out to the 20-12 lead.
- The visitors led by double digits for the first time at 24-14 at the 4:56 mark after a layup by McNamara and eventually took a 35-17 lead into halftime as MIT shot 21.9 percent from the field overall in the half and was 1-for-12 from three-point land.
- WPI continued to lead by 18 at 39-21 just under three minutes into the second before the hosts put together a quick 5-0 run to pull within 13. After a Forsythe layup, senior Tim Roberts (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) had a huge block and Forsythe hit a three on the other end to make it 39-26.
- Midway through the period, first-year Dan Pilsbury (Millington, N.J.) came in and drilled a three to spark MIT and make it a 43-31 game. After a quick WPI layup from Jake Wisniewski, MIT embarked on a 14-0 run over a span of 6:21 that was capped by a three by sophomore Ian Hinkley (Raleigh, N.C.) to tie the game at 45-45.
- WPI's Logan O'Donnell countered with a dunk to regain the lead at 47-45, but MIT used another Pilsbury three to take the lead with 2:37 left. The visitors again lead by three at 53-50 following a Dakota Wheeler three-pointer with under a minute left, but WPI later turned the ball over on an inbounds play with 27.7 seconds remaining to give MIT a chance to tie.
- On the ensuing possession, the Engineers swung the ball to senior AJ Jurko (Weston, Fla.) at the top of the key and he knocked down the three to tie the game for the final time. WPI inbounded and worked the clock down before McNamara briefly drove the lane and pulled up from 14 feet for the game winner that sent the visitors into the NEWMAC Championship.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Jurko led MIT with 13 points and senior Bradley Jomard (Paris, France) finished with 10 points, Roberts also nearly finished with a double-double as he had nine points and a game-high 17 rebounds.
- For WPI, McNamara posted 13 points and Wisniewski added 11, while Stephenson led the team with 12 rebounds.
- MIT is ranked seventh in this week's D3Hoops.com National Poll as the Engineers are up one spot from No. 8 in last week's rankings. In addition, MIT sits at No. 5 in the latest NCAA Northeast Region rankings that were released earlier this week.
- WPI now advances to the NEWMAC Championship Game on Saturday afternoon as the Engineers will travel to No. 2 seeded Emerson College for a 1 p.m. start.
- MIT will now await the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Championship selections, which will be revealed in the online selection show on Monday, February 25th at 12:30 p.m. at www.ncaa.com.