WORCESTER --- On senior night in Worcester, the WPI men's basketball team fought hard but was unable to come away with the victory falling to Springfield 80-64 on Wednesday night.
In addition to this exciting match-up between the 15th and 21st teams in the nation, it was announced today that Springfield boasts the No. 2 team in the region while the Boynton Hillers are right behind them as the No. 3 team in the NCAA Northeast Regional rankings.
Springfield was able to earn the victory once again thanks to an 11-of-23 effort from Jake Ross (Northampton, MA) including four from behind the arc and a perfect 6-for-6 effort from the free throw line totalling 32 points. The senior became just the 19th student-athlete in Division III men's basketball history to eclipse the 2,500 career point scoring mark. Classmate Heath Post (Cheshire, CT) delivered 20 points, 11 boards, and a pair of blocks. Post carried the load in the first half producing 15 points and seven boards, while Ross netted 23 points in 17 second-half minutes.
Leading the way for WPI was Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) who netted 21 points, including a 3-for-5 effort from deep and a 4-for-4 effort from the charity stripe. Joining McNamara in the double-digit scoring column were Garrett Stephenson (Townsend, MA) who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds and John Lowther (Hingham, MA) who added 11 points and eight boards. On the night, the Engineers as a team chipped in six treys.
The win improves Springfield to 21-3 and 12-1 in NEWMAC play, while WPI (19-5, 10-3) still currently sits in second place following tonight's loss.
WPI shot just 36.9 (24-of-65) from the field on the night compared to Springfield's 50.0 percent clip (30-60), eerily similar to the last time out between the two teams. WPI outrebounded Springfield, 40-34.
Mirroring the last time out against the Pride, the first 10 minutes of action were back-and-forth and saw the two teams tied with just over nine minutes to go thanks to senior Lou Doherty's (Arlington, MA) trey.
The game remained tight until just before the half when Springfield went on an 11-0 run over a two-minute span to take a 37-26 lead into the intermission. Coming out of the break WPI wasn't able to cut too deeply into Springfield's lead until a 7-0 run, capped by a Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, MA) layup made it a 58-51 game with 6:24 to play.
Following that run, Springfield called a timeout and came out of the break rejuvenated rallying off an 8-0 run, in which Ross scored all eight points of the run including a pair of 3-pointers, of its own to regain a double-digit lead that it would be able to hold on to for the victory.
Both teams have just one more regular season game ahead of them on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2pm. WPI will finish out its season with a battle of the Engineers at MIT while Springfield will return home for Senior Day against Babson at 2pm.
Photo Credit - Analise Brown