Score: No. 2 Emerson 93, No. 5 WPI 75
Records: No. 2 Emerson Lions (16-11, 9-5 NEWMAC) ; No. 5 WPI Engineers (19-9, 8-6 NEWMAC)
Location: Boston, Mass. (Brown & Plofker Gym)
Date: Saturday, February 23, 2019
The Lead: A 33-point career high day for junior Jack O'Connor (Newport, R.I.) followed by three more Lions double figure showings lifted the Emerson men's basketball team to a 93-75 victory over No. 5 WPI in the NEWMAC Championship game on Saturday afternoon, marking the first time the Lions have captured the NEWMAC title since joining in 2013-14.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- O'Connor paced all scorers with a career high 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting including a 3-of-4 effort beyond the arc to go along with eight rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Senior Geoffrey Gray (Newton, Mass.) and freshman Zach Waterhouse (Hampton, N.H.) each contributed 16 points with Gray adding a team-high 11 rebounds and six assists.
Freshman Trevor McLean (Boston, Mass.) racked up 11 points shooting a perfect 3-of-3 behind the perimeter.
- WPI boasted five players with double digits and was anchored by Colin McNamara, who led with 16 points followed by Garrett Stephenson (15), Reid Walker (13) and Jake Wisniewski (11).
- Wisniewski added nine rebounds to his stat line while Kahleb Downing dished out six assists.
Emerson canned 30-of-57 (52.6%) from the floor and connected on 53.8% of its triples and 92.9% on the charity stripe.
- WPI finished shooting 45.0% (27-of-60) on the hardwood while converting 6-of-17 from the arc and 71.4% on the free throw line.
- The Lions beat the Engineers on the glass, 35-29, while the Engineers beat the hosts in the paint (32-20) and assists (13-9).
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Emerson knocked in its first 12 points on the arc with three different Lions connecting for four triples, including a pair from McLean, as the Lions held a 12-8 lead over WPI five minutes into the first.
- Wisniewski answered with a three of his own to pull WPI back within one (12-11) and jumped ahead by two on a three-point bucket from McNamara (16-14), which was the last time the Engineers would hold a lead.
- Starting on a layup by Gray, a 12-3 Emerson spurt pushed the Lions in front with a seven-point margin (26-19) after O'Connor connected for yet another long distance basket at the 9:50 mark.
The Engineers made their way back into the game that began with Walker's trip to the free throw line and used a 5-0 streak to close within a pair just two minutes after the Lions gained the seven point lead (26-24).
- After the Engineers inched back within two, the Lions quickly rang off an 11-4 run that saw O'Connor dish seven points and gave the hosts its biggest lead of the half at 11 (39-28) with 3:20 remaining.
Emerson kept WPI within no more than nine through the closing minutes of the opening frame and went to the break holding a 43-35 advantage over the Engineers.
- O'Connor drained two baskets in the opening 41 seconds of the second half to move Emerson's lead into double digits once again at 10 (47-37) before WPI put up four points to gain ground at six (47-41), which was the closest the Engineers would come.
- The hosts stretched its lead all the way up to 16 midway through the second half and held steady ground over the Engineers as O'Connor banked a jumper to give the Lions a 20-point advantage at 4:02 (80-60).
- Emerson took the game to the free throw line in the remaining two minutes of the game to seal the 93-75 win, marking the program's first NEWMAC title.
STAY LIVE WITH THE LIONS