Worcester, MA – Senior Ian Converse (Woodstock, CT) led WPI with 18 points in the first half, while classmate Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) took over the reins with 11 points after the intermission as they combined to lead WPI to a 75-65 victory over Worcester city rival Clark on Senior Day at Harrington Auditorium.
Converse led all players in points (23) and rebounds (11) as he shot 9-for-18 from the field, also contributing four assists, two steals and two blocks. Meanwhile, Doncaster drained 9 of 10 free throws to follow behind with 13 points, and seven rebounds as the duo picked up a win in their final home game.
The Engineers (17-8, 8-6 NEWMAC) locked up the No. 3 seed in the NEWMAC Tournament with the victory and will face second-seeded MIT out at Babson next Saturday at 7:30pm in the final game of a marathon quadruple-header.
Clark (13-12, 5-9) was looking to secure the fifth in the NEWMAC Tournament, but will now await the result of tonight's game between Wheaton and Emerson.
Cougars senior Joe Atkinson (Milford, MA) led Clark's attack with 17 points five rebounds and four assists. John Piscareta (Andover, MA) chipped in 12 points and eight boards, while Lamar Berk (Saint Augustine, FL) added 10 points.
Although Converse opened the game with a 3-pointer, Clark followed with a 7-0 run, capped a trey from Piscareta to send the Cougars to a 7-3 lead. The Engineers rallied right back with an 8-0 rally of their own, topped off by Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) (9 points), as four different players contributed to help WPI take an 11-7 lead with 13:09 left in the first half.
Clark briefly took back the lead twice midway through the period after 3-pointers by Kittredge and Matt Woods (Arlington, MA), but WPI's Jamani Spencer (Closter, NJ) responded for the Engineers both times. Spencer started a 9-2 spurt for the hosts with 9:25 to go in the first half and Converse capped it by converting a 3-point play 1:35 later to send WPI to a 22-17 lead and the Engineers never trailed the rest of a closely contested game. Converse knocked down a pair of free throws with 3:38 left in the opening 20 minutes to give WPI its biggest lead of the first half, 30-22, before the visitors closed the gap with an 8-2 rally led by Atkinson to narrow it to 32-30 at the break.
2017 NEWMAC Men's Basketball Championship
Quarterfinals: Wednesday, February 22nd (at Springfield)
No. 5 Wheaton at No. 4 Springfield – TBA
Semifinals: Saturday, February 25th (at Babson)
Winner No. 4/5 vs. No. 1 Babson – 5:00 p.m.
No. 3 WPI vs. No. 2 MIT – 7:30 p.m.
Championship: Sunday, February 26th (at Babson)
Semifinal Winners – 3:00 p.m.
Videos coming soon!