Rodgers and 3-Point Barrage Sends Men’s Basketball Past City & Conference Foe Clark

Colin McNamara

WORCESTER – Chris Rodgers (Franklin, MA) led all scorers with 21 points and seven assists to go with a pair of steals and six rebounds as WPI topped city and NEWMAC rival Clark. 85-72, in a men's basketball showdown Saturday in Harrington Auditorium. The Engineers (10-7, 4-2) have now won their last four.

WPI and Clark began a fast and furious first quarter, with both teams scoring early and often, reaching 20 points each before the first 10 minutes of play had passed. Luca McCormick (Fort Lauderdale, FL) began the scoring for the Cougars when he hit a 3-point jump-shot on the visitors opening possession. The Engineers made it clear they could shoot the three ball as well as they matched Clark via Reid Walker (Lithia, FL) and continued to work the perimeter scoring on 10 of their 17 attempts in the half.

The Engineers ensured their offense wasn't one dimensional by collecting seven of their misses from the field and out-scoring Clark 9-3 in second chance points. Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) played a huge part, grabbing a pair of his teammates trifecta misses and laying them in for the score, tallying nine points in the first half alone. Leading his team, Biko Gayman (Fort Pierce, FL) scored nine points in the first and handed his teammates a trio of assists to help the Cougars cut into the Engineers' lead. His effort brought the game within two points with 9:09 remaining in the period but it seemed that every time the game was within reach for Clark, the Crimson and Gray would hit another three-pointer. WPI continued to push their advantage, finishing with an 11 point lead (43-32) after the first 20 minutes of play.

WPI looked to extend their lead starting the second half, mustering as large as a 21 point comfortable bulge over the Cougars with 6:32 remaining in the game. Luca McCormick (Fort Lauderdale, FL) was a late game star for Clark, scoring 12 of his 14 points in the second half of play. But it was Rodgers who put on a stellar performance and held the Boynton Hillers high. It seemed as if Rogers could score from anywhere on the court: pull-up jumpers, 3-point shots, driving layups, he even stunned his own bench when, on his last score of the night, he faked a shot from the baseline only to drive into the paint and put up a heavily contested layup for the score with his teammates on the sideline all on their feet.

WPI shot exceptionally well, scoring on 56.7% of their attempts for two points and finishing the game 13-of-21 from beyond the arc. While it seemed Clark wanted to push the pace of the game, the Engineers held a favorable 8-2 advantage on fast break points and finished with 16 total points off of turnovers. The Cougars held their own off the backboard, matching WPI in rebounds with 32 on the night.

Wisniewski finished the night with 13 points four assists and six boards while Walker contributed with 11 points and five rebounds and Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, MA) notched nine points. Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) canned six points and passed out five assists in his 19 minutes of play. Lou Doherty (Arlington, MA) reached for a career high five rebounds and chipped in five points on the night as well.

Gayman and John Pisacreta (Andover, MA) shared scoring honors for Clark, tallying 16 points each with Gayman giving five assists out to his team and grabbing a pair of rebounds, and Pisacreta collecting four off the glass. McCormick finished with 14 points and six rebounds while Adam Converse (Woodstock, CT) matched McCormick with six rebounds and eight points against his brothers old team. Kyle Coughlin (Beverly, MA) chipped in with nine points, scoring on three of his four 3-point attempts and collecting a trio of rebounds in the effort for the Cougars.

Men's Basketball heads to Springfield Wednesday for the second game of a rare NEWMAC men's and women's doubleheader at 8pm. The women lead off at 6pm. Clark (3-14, 0-6) travels to nationally-ranked MIT Wednesday for a 7pm start.

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