WPI Holds off Bears 71-67

Patrick Witkowski
Patrick Witkowski

NEW LONDON, Conn. –  Senior Ian Converse had his fifth double-double of the season and ninth of his career registering game-highs with 21 points and 15 rebounds off the bench leading WPI to a 71-67 win over Coast Guard in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game.

Junior Aaron Todd hit a 3-pointer with 1:44 left to break a 64-64 tie and give WPI the lead for good.

Junior Chris Rodgers finished with a double-double for WPI as he scored 12 points to go with 11 rebounds. Senior Sean Doncaster added 14 points, nine rebounds and a game-high seven assists in the win for WPI.

Freshman Patrick Witkowski led Coast Guard with a double-double as he finished with 17 points and a career-high 11 rebounds and freshman Noah Baldez tied his career-high with 14 points to go with a career best five assists off the bench for the Bears. Freshman Justin Kane was also in double figures as he finished with 12 points while freshman Sean Graytok had eight points and a career-high nine rebounds.

WPI improves to 15-8 overall and evens its record at 6-6 in the NEWMAC while Coast Guard drops its fourth straight and the Bears are now 6-16 overall and 2-10 in conference play.

WPI led 7-5 five minutes into the game before Coast Guard scored nine straight on a trio of 3-pointers to take a 14-7 lead with 11:25 left in the first half. The Engineers had a sluggish start making just 2 of 16 field goals, including missing all seven from 3-point range and turning it over seven times in falling behind by seven.

The Engineers would respond with a 9-2 run tying the game 16-16 on a 3-pointer by junior Connor Willgress with 7:18 left in the first half. Coast Guard led 28-27 at halftime.

WPI shot 28.6 percent (10-35) in the first half making 2 of 13 from 3-point range while the Bears were 11 of 31 (35.5 percent) in the first half converting on 6 of 14 from beyond the arc.

The Engineers scored the first seven points of the second half to take a 34-28 lead on a layup by Converse with 17:26 left.

WPI led 48-40 on a basket by Todd before the Bears ran off 12 straight taking the lead 50-48 on a layup by Baldez with 8:30 left before a layup by senior Adrian Chuquillangui pushed the lead to 52-48 with 7:57 remaining.

Back-to-back treys by Rodgers and Converse gave WPI a 54-52 lead with 6:40 left.

Coast Guard would regain the lead 61-60 on jumper by Witkowski with 4:09 left.

Todd hit a 3-pointer giving WPI a 67-64 lead with 1:44 left and Doncaster made a pair of free throws with 19.2 seconds left pushing the lead to 69-64.

Witkowski's 3-pointer with 14 seconds left made the score 69-67 before Doncaster made two more free throws with 12.8 seconds left making the lead 71-67

The Bears are back in action on Wednesday night when they play at Babson, the No. 1 team in the nation, in a NEWMAC game at 5:30.

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