Men's Basketball Edged by MIT in OT; Zielinski Forces Extra Session With Late Bucket

Dave Zielinski

WORCESTER -- WPI's Dave Zielinski (Shelton CT) banked a 17-foot jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining to force overtime but MIT's Cameron Korb (Los Gatos, CA) drilled a 3-pointer in the extra session that gave the visitors the lead for good and Spencer Rust (Alamo, CA) tallied a pair of blocks to preserve the lead as the  regionally-ranked guests defeated the Crimson and Gray 68-66 in a NEWMAC men's basketball game played Wednesday evening.  

MIT, ninth in the initial NCAA New England rankings, moves its record to 17-5 overall and 9-2 in conference play.  WPI is now 14-8 on the season and 5-6 in NEWMAC action.

Trailing by five at 55-50 with under 30 seconds left in regulation, Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) sliced the deficit to two on a 3-pointer with 21.3 seconds to go.  After three WPI fouls to force MIT into the bonus, the guests missed a one-and-one free throw and WPI got the ball to Zielinski in the right corner, who dribbled towards the free throw line while being closely guarded and hit the clutch fall-away jumper to even the score. 

Rodgers began overtime with a pair of baskets sandwiched around a two Korb free throws to go ahead 61-59 before Korb's 3-pointer from the left wing ignited a 8-0 MIT run that put the guests up 67-61 with just seconds remaining.  WPI had one last gasp, scoring five of the game's last six points, but were not able to get a turnover after Connor Willgress (Mill Creek, WA) hit a 3-pointer with just under two seconds remaining to give the game its final 68-66 margin.  

The WPI, MIT whiteout game began with a blistering half on both sides of the court. Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) began the scoring for the host's with a 3-point jumper to take an early 8-2 lead. Not to be outdone, MIT followed going 6-for-8 and taking a 16-10 lead with 12 minutes to play. Battling back, the Boynton Hillers put on a defensive clinic, stopping MIT from converting on their next 12 shots, holding the visitors scoreless with the exception of a pair of freebies from Rust for the following 10:43 minutes of the half. This defensive performance, along with a game-tying Zielinski three allowed Crimson and Gray to battle for a promising 24-23 lead at the half.

Tim Butala (Monroe, CT) led all scorers with 20 points while Korb followed with 16 of his own and 3 assists. Bradley Jomard (Paris, France) had a team-high nine rebounds while, AJ Jurko (Weston, FL) chipped in with 12 as well and also collected 5 rebounds for himself.

Rodgers led the hosts with 18 points, going 4-for-4 from beyond the yard while Aaron Todd (York, ME) collected his second double-double of the season and his career, scoring 12 points and securing a game-high, 10 rebounds. Ian Converse (Woodstock, CT) tallied 14 off the bench, narrowly missing a double-double himself with nine boards. Doncaster also contributed from the 3-point line, scoring on 4 of his 5 attempts on the night.  

WPI opens a two-game road trip on Saturday, venturing to New London, CT to face Coast Guard at 3pm while MIT entertains Wheaton at the same time on Saturday.

Majority of recap written by WPI student assistant Ranier Gran '18