Fast Start, Wheeler's Career Night, Sends Men's Basketball Past Salem State

Dakota Wheeler

WORCESTER --- The WPI men's basketball team saw four players record double figures, including a career-high 21 points from Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, MA) as the Engineers ran away with a 91-50 victory over Salem State this evening in non-conference action. 

With the win, the 16th-ranked Engineers improve to 3-1 on the season, while the Vikings slip to 1-4 with the setback. 

WPI controlled game right from the tip, starting the game with an 8-0 run before the Vikings got on the board on a three from Chris MacDonald (Wakefield, MA) with 17:15 on the clock. 

The Engineers extended the lead to 19-3 with an 11-0 run that included five points from Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) and four from Reid Walker (Tampa, FL). 

Five straight from the Vikings cut the deficit to 19-8, but WPI pushed the lead back to 16 (26-10) on a three from Downing with 10:13 on the clock. 

Salem closed the gap to 10 on a layup from Hakeem Animashaun (Dedham, MA) with 9:04 left, but the Engineers responded and pushed the lead to as many as 18 on Wheeler layup with 6:00 minutes left in the first before taking the largest lead of the half, 48-22, on a Wheeler three just before the half. 

WPI shot 60% from the floor in the opening half and 53% from behind the arc, while Salem State shot just 39% from the floor and 20% from behind the arc during the first 20 minutes. 

WPI continued their hot shooting in the second half leading 64-36 just over five minutes into the second and 72-38 midway through the frame.  The Engineers took their largest lead of the game (41) in the final minute. 

Wheeler shot 8-of-10 including 5-of-7 from behind the arc to tally his 21 points, while Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) added 16 points on 7-of-9 from the floor to go along with five boards.  Downing finished the game with 14 points, while Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) added 12. 

Animashaun was the lone Viking in double figures with 24 points and six rebounds. Animashaun connected on 9-of-12 from the floor in the game.  Jaden Castillo (Lawrence, MA) doled out a team-best four assists for the visitors.  

WPI shot 54% from the floor in the game including 45% from behind the arc, while Salem shot just 35% and 21% from behind the arc. 

WPI is back in action on the hardcourt on Friday night when they travel to face Eastern Nazarene at the Paula Titus Memorial Tournament hosted by UMass Boston at 7pm.  The Vikings return to action on November 26th when they host Gordon at 7pm.