WORCESTER, Mass.—Junior Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, Mass.) scored a team-high 15 points and sophomore Zach Karalis (North Andover, Mass.) added 13 to help fifth-ranked WPI hold off Babson College, 66-62, in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Wednesday night at Harrington Auditorium.
With its 10th straight victory, WPI is now 13-1 overall and 3-0 in the NEWMAC, while Babson drops to 10-4 overall and 1-2 in conference play.
Junior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) notched his first double-double of the year with 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Beavers. Senior Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) came off the bench to score 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting while first-year Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.), the league's leading scorer, added nine points and four rebounds.
Senior Ryan Kolb (Southington, Conn.) chipped in with 11 points for the Engineers. Junior Sam Longwell (Acton, Mass.) had eight points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Aaron Davis (Marshfield, Mass.) dished out a game-high six assists.
Babson built a 26-21 lead with 4:54 to go in the first half by knocking down 10 of its first 15 field goals. Palazini scored 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the opening half, and the Green and White outscored WPI 17-6 in the paint.
The Engineers, who went 6-for-14 from three-point range in the first half, closed the period with a 13-2 run to take a 34-28 lead into the break. First-year Marcus Middleton (Stoughton, Mass.) drilled back-to-back threes and Mastascusa followed with his only triple of the night one possession later. The Beavers, who shot 50 percent in the opening half, missed six of their last seven shots from the floor.
Babson trailed by nine on three different occasions in the second half but pulled within two late following a 7-0 spurt. Trailing 61-52 with 4:20 left, Wickey hit a three-pointer from the left corner while being fouled to cut the deficit to six. He missed the ensuing free throw, but a foul on Flannery's offensive rebound sent him to the line where he made 1-of-2 to make it 61-56.
Despite turnovers on its next two possessions, the Beavers got three straight stops and Wickey drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key following a steal to make it 61-59 with 2:13 left. Longwell and senior Chad LaBove (Shrewsbury, Mass.) combined for three free throws to push the WPI lead to 64-60 with 29 seconds left before Wickey pulled Babson back within two on a layup with five ticks left. Unfortunately they would get no closer as Karalis hit a pair of free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
The Beavers shot 48.9 percent (22-for-45) on the night and outscored WPI 31-12 in the paint. The Engineers shot 45.3 percent (24-for-53) form the floor and outrebounded the Green and White 30-28.
Both teams return to action at 1 p.m. on Saturday as Babson travels to Wheaton, while WPI will be at Emerson.
GAME NOTES: The Beavers are now 40-29 all-time against WPI…Senior Kenny Ross (Furlong, Pa.), the NEWMAC leader in assists, finished with four on the night and has now dished out at least four assists in 19 consecutive games…The Beavers are now 1-2 on the year when scoring 65 points or less…Babson made a season-low five three-point field goals in the loss…The Beavers are 1-4 on the year when trailing at the half.