WORCESTER --- WPI men's basketball took a 40-20 lead into halftime on Saturday afternoon, pacing them to an 85-64 victory over Emerson, their fifth straight win and tenth victory in NEWMAC play.
WPI is 19-4 on the season and 10-2 in conference play, while Emerson falls to 14-9 on the year and 7-5 in the league.
Emerson, led by a game-high 21 points from Jack O'Connor (Newport, RI), took a 7-6 lead at 14:19 of the first half, but the Engineers took back the advantage on an offensive put back by Wheeler, and never trailed again. O'Connor also led the Lions with six rebounds.
Wheeler added a three-point jump shot to extend the advantage, and then the Engineers ripped off a 16-0 run over eight minutes to put a stranglehold on the game.
When the dust settled, the hosts led 27-9 after a jump shot by John Lowther (Hingham, MA), who scored eight points and had four rebounds and two assists.
Stephenson and Wheeler were joined by three Engineers in double-figures. Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) scored 11 points and filled the stat sheet with six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Jake Wisniewski (West Brookfield, MA) added 10 points, four assists and five rebounds, while Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) scored 13 points in the win.
Stephenson collected a game-high seven rebounds, helping WPI to a 39-26 advantage on the glass. He gave the Engineers their largest lead of the game with a layup to make it 40-17 with under a minute left in the first half.
Both teams shot over 43% from the field and better than 82% from the free-throw line, but WPI was 9-25 from three-point land, while Emerson made just 3 of 17 attempts from downtown.
Zach Waterhouse (Hampton, NH) and Jarred Houston (Norwood, MA) scored nine points apiece, with Houston adding three blocks for the Lions. James Beckwith (Palo Alto, CA) and Max Davis (Oakland, CA) each added seven points and three rebounds off of the Emerson bench.
The Engineers host No. 20 Springfield (11-1 NEWMAC) at 5:30pm on Wednesday evening in a match-up of the conference's top two teams. Emerson returns home to entertain Babson on Wednesday at 7pm.