Mass. College Hoops: No. 14 WPI Falls Short To No. 13 Albertus Magnis In NCAA Tournament

By NoontimeSports.com

Courtesy of the WPI sports information department, here’s this evening’s release from the Engineers’ first-round NCAA Tournament matchup against Albertus Magnus. WPI lost to Albertus Magnus, 68-66:

Purchase, NY — No. 13 ranked Albertus Magnus used a late 11-2 run to rally to defeat No. 14 ranked WPI 68-66 Friday evening in a NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament first round contest played at SUNY Purchase.

Albertus Magnus (27-2) advances to Saturday’s second round at 7pm against the winner of the host Panthers and Hartwick. WPI, who was appearing in its eighth NCAA Tournament in the last 10 years, completes its season with a 22-5 mark.

WPI went ahead 56-53 on a long 3-pointer by Matt Harrington (Shrewsbury, MA) with 5:30 left.  After the two teams traded baskets, the Falcons embarked upon game-deciding spurt when James Jennings (Bridgeport, CT) canned a trifecta of his own to level the game at 58-58.

Lightning-quick point guard Eian Davis (Brooklyn, NY) responded with a free throw and a short jumper and big man Victor Ljuljdjuraj (Yorktown Heights, NY) drained a pair of buckets sandwiched around an Aaron Davis (Marshfield, MA) jumper for WPI, giving AMC a 65-60 edge with a minute left.

After the two teams combined for three empty possessions, Albertus Magnus nailed three free throws in the final 12 seconds to hold off a hard-charging Engineer team that connected on a pair of three-pointers in the same span, including one at the buzzer by Aaron Davis.

The first half began at a frantic pace, with Albertus Magnus canning 7-of-8 shots from the floor en route to a 10 point edge at 29-19 midway through the stanza.  At that point, WPI’s defense took over and spearheaded a 15-0 run highlighted by four charges taken that helped fuel a 36-34 halftime advantage.

Eian Davis dodged foul trouble, including three before halftime to register game-highs of 22 points, six assists and two steals. Darius Watson (New Britain, CT) scored 14 of his 18 points in the first half, including drilling all four of his 3-pointers in a 4:32 span early in the game while the 6-8 Ljuljdjuraj posted 14 points and 11 rebounds en route to a double-double.

Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA) was outstanding for WPI, tallying a team-best 19 points, to go along with seven boards, all defensive.

Zack Karalis (North Andover, MA) contributed 14 points, including four 3-pointers and tied his career-best nine rebounds.  Harrington matched his career-high with 11 points while Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) carried the mail early for the Crimson and Gray, scoring eight points before sliding over to help contain Watson in the second half.  Longwell will enter his senior season in November just 3 points short of 1,000.

Senior Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) chipped in with seven points for the Engineers, who recorded assists on 18 of 24 baskets. on the night.   The game marked the final contest for Kolb and classmates Chad LaBove (Shrewsbury, MA) and Drew Osei (Buffalo, NY).

Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week 14)

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, Mass. – With another week of college basketball in the Worcester area in the books, it’s time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll.

Men’s Player of the Week: Ryan Sheehan (Nichols) – The senior forward averaged 22 points per game, 4.0 rebounds per game and 1.7 steals per game as the Bison advanced to the CCC Championship for the first time in program history. He began the week with 18 points against Western New England in the quarterfinals, and then scored 24 in both an 83-80 OT win over Salve Regina in the semifinals and in a four-point loss to Gordon in the championship on Saturday. He also became the program’s all-time leading scorer with a first-half layup against the Golden Bears. Last week, Sheehan was named CCC Player of the Year, Senior Student-Athlete of the Year, and CCC First Team.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Marcus Murray (Assumption) – The freshman guard capped off his rookie season with a 20-point, seven-assist showing in a 71-62 road setback at Southern New Hampshire.

Paul Brooks (Worcester State) – The freshman center averaged 14.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks while connecting on .550 percent of his shots in a 1-1 week for Worcester State which included game highs of 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a 71-51 MASCAC Quarterfinal victory over Framingham State.

Women’s Player of the Week: Shannon Ray (Assumption) –In a 2-0 week that landed the Hounds in the Northeast-10 semifinals, the senior guard averaged 15 points, three rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.5 steals per game. She shot 45.8 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point land and was 4-for-4 from the free throw line. Highlighting her week was a game-high 21-point outing in a road win over New Haven in the NE-10 Quarterfinals.

Honor Roll:

Malcolm Miller (Holy Cross) – The junior forward led the team with 20 points and eight rebounds in the victory at Loyola, while hitting four of eight attempts from three-point range. Miller added eight points, seven rebounds and four assists in the narrow loss to Boston University.

Anthony Thompson (Holy Cross) – The freshman guard totaled 12 points and four assists in the victory at Loyola. He then added nine points in the narrow loss to Boston University. Four of his points against the Terriers came during a 6-0 Holy Cross run in the final five minutes, as the Crusaders trimmed an eight-point deficit down to two points (63-61). Thompson made all 12 of his free throw attempts on the week.

Julie Frankian (Worcester State) – The sophomore guard sank .571 percent of her attempts for a game high 20 points in addition to four rebounds and three assists in a 75-63 MASCAC Quarterfinal setback to Framingham State.

Dane Jobst (Worcester State) – The senior forward averaged 14 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 2.0 assists in a 1-1 week for Worcester State including 15 points, 11 boards and four assists in a 71-51 MASCAC Quarterfinal win over Framingham State before he logged 13 points, 14 caroms and four swipes in a 66-62 MASCAC semifinal setback against Bridgewater State.

Ryan Kolb (WPI) – The senior forward tallied 12 first half points against MIT to become the 25th player in WPI history to reach the 1,000 point milestone.

Mass. College Hoops: Mass. College Hoops: WACBA Honor Roll (Week 10)

By NoontimeSports.com 

WORCESTER, Mass. – With another week of college basketball in the Worcester area in the books, it’s time to unveil this week’s Worcester Area College Basketball Association (WACBA) honor roll.

Men’s Player of the Week: Dane Jobst (Worcester State) – The junior forward posted his 12th double-double in 18 games with 20 points and a season-best 20 rebounds in a 68-57 triumph over Framingham State. Jobst entered the weekend ranked third in the Division III in rebounding (13.1), fourth in total boards (235) and sixth in double-doubles.

Men’s Rookie of the Week: Marcus Murray (Assumption) – The first-year guard averaged 18.5 points per game, along with 3.5 rebounds and 5.5 assists per contest, in a 1-1 week for the Hounds. In addition, Murray finished the week 23-for-26 at the free throw line, shooting 88.5 percent. In the win over Pace, Murray posted 17 points and seven assists while shooting 11-for-12 at the line. He followed that with a team-high 20 points and four assists in a road loss at No. 19 ranked Southern Connecticut. He was 12-for-14 at the free throw line in that game.

Women’s Player of the Week: Alex Smith (Holy Cross) – The senior guard poured in a team-high 15 points against American, which helped her reach the 1,500-point milestone. She converted on 6-of-12 shots from the field and dished out seven assists. Smith became the 11th Holy Cross women’s basketball player to reach the 1,500-point mark, but also the first player to register 1,500 career points and 500 assists. Smith registered a game and team-high 17 points against Loyola Maryland last Wednesday in the Crusaders’ 80-65 win.

Women’s Rookie of the Week: Morgan O’Brien (Assumption) – The first-year guard averaged 14.5 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 56.3 percent from three-point land in a 1-1 week for the Hounds. In a home win over Pace, O’Brien posted a career-high 21 points on 7-for-8 shooting from three-point land. The seven three-pointers tied an Assumption single-game school record, while the 87.5 percent shooting from three in the game set the school mark. She added eight points and five rebounds in a road loss at Southern Connecticut.

Honor Roll:

Dave Dudzinski (Holy Cross) – The senior forward posted his fourth double-double of the season in the victory over Loyola, with game highs of 24 points and 12 rebounds. He added six points and a game-high eight rebounds at American. Dudzinski made 61.1 percent of his field goal attempts on the week (11 of 18).

Anthony Thompson (Holy Cross) – The first-year guard scored eight points in the victory over Loyola, while tying his career highs with six rebounds and four assists. Thompson converted a key three-point play with 2:21 left in the Loyola game to put the Crusaders up by five. He also added 12 points at American, while hitting four of five field goal attempts.

Chris Fitzgerald (Assumption) – The sophomore forward averaged 18.5 points, three rebounds and one block per game in a 1-1 week for Assumption. He also shot 44.4 percent from the field, 42.1 percent from three-point land (8-for-19) and was a perfect 5-for-5 at the line. Highlighting his week was a career-high 26-point effort in the win over Pace as he knocked down five three-pointers and was 5-for-5 at the free throw line. He added 11 points, behind a trio of threes, in the road loss at No. 19 Southern Connecticut.

Andrew Musler (Clark) – In a pair of huge wins over top-flight league opponents that put the Cougars back into the hunt for a playoff spot, the senior forward was fantastic, averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 48 percent from the field (12-for-25), including a sizzling 6-for-11 from behind the arc. In a last second 71-70 win over Babson, Musler finished with seventh double-double of the season with a game-high 18 points and ten rebounds. Then in another last second victory – this one a 56-55 win over MIT – he totaled 17 points, seven rebounds and three steals.

Matt Langadas (Nichols) – The junior guard averaged 16.5 points per game while shooting 71.4 percent from the field as the Bison went 2-0 last week and extended their program-record win streak to nine. He tallied 15 points, five rebounds and two assists at Roger Williams on Wednesday. He added a team-high 18 points against Salve Regina on Saturday. Langadas went 3-for-3 from behind the arc and canned 77 percent of his free throws.

Ryan Kolb (WPI) – The senior forward led all scorers with 23 points to go with his team-high eight rebounds as the fourth-ranked Engineers went on the road and defeated Coast Guard, 71-65, on Wednesday. The senior forward added nine points in WPI’s thrilling 71-70 victory Saturday over Springfield, which was a rematch of last year’s NEWMAC Tournament championship game. For the week, Kolb averaged 10 points and 6.5 rebounds.

Dani Davis (WPI) – The junior guard was the game’s leading scorer, tallying 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting, including three trifectas, in WPI’s key 52-49 road win at Springfield on Wednesday evening. The junior was also a top contributor against Babson, finishing with 13 points and nine rebounds, along with four blocks in a tight 55-53 loss Saturday to five-time defending conference champion Beavers.

Paul Brooks (Worcester State) – The first-year center matched a season high with 14 points and he finished with five boards and five blocks in a 68-57 victory over Framingham State.

Cheyenne Jennings (Worcester State) – The sophomore guard averaged 15.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists in an 0-2 including 17 points and six helpers in a 65-51 setback against Framingham State and 14 points and six boards in a 56-47 defeat at Suffolk.

Mass. College Hoops: Catching Up With Chris Bartley (WPI Basketball)

By Matt Noonan 

It’s been an exciting season for the WPI men’s basketball team, which is currently ranked fourth in the country, according to the latest D3Hoops.com poll.

Chris Bartley, who is in his 13th season with the Engineers, has guided the Crimson and Gray to a 17-1 overall mark, including a 7-0 record in NEWMAC play. Bartley’s crew, which hasn’t lost a regular season contest since falling to Castleton State in November, will look to continue its momentum on Saturday when they host Springfield College for a 3 p.m. tip.

We caught up with Coach Bartley earlier this afternoon to chat about his team’s next contest, but also the Engineers’ resiliency and defense, too.

On the team’s foundation: “I think we’ve always had tough kids. One of the things that’s been really important for us is trying to recruit tough kids and help them with their mental toughness, so we just approach everything by doing the best we can with what we have (each) year. The names change sometimes and the faces changed, but hopefully the foundation and the pillars of the program as far as the work ethic and guys that care about each other and hold each other accountable and play hard every night out.”

On identifying the team’s identity: “If you look at us statistically, we’re pretty good on defense. We kind of hold our own on the boards and when we’re playing well we’re playing a pretty good team defense and the guys play hard. Offensively, I think the biggest thing is that we’re a team that has to share the ball and we have to help each other score. When we struggled earlier against Wheaton and last night against Coast Guard and in the second half against Clark (because of ball movement), but for us to be successful we need to pass it to each other and we need to cut and screen. We’re not the type of team that has guys that’ll create their own shots because we really have to create shots for each other, but when we play the right way we’re pretty good.”

On the importance of team defense: “It always starts with our defense. Every single day starts with our defense and so does every meeting and film session, so it always starts there. (Against Wheaton), Agyei Gregory made some ridiculous shots. He made NBA type shots, but I thought Wheaton came out with a lot more enthusiasm than we did and typically when guys from the other team (knows they’re playing us), I find that (our opponent’s) kids shoot the ball better because they’re more focused. So, if you don’t bring equal intensity level and energy level and enthusiasm, which I didn’t think we did (from the start) that can happen. I think it is important to play through adversity, so I don’t take a lot of quick timeouts, but I think our guys are mature enough to play through stuff like that and I thought we did a good job in the second half of the first half of that game of getting back to our identity and making it a little more difficult for them. I thought we started sharing the ball (toward the end of the first half) and we started to play WPI basketball, which is what it’s all about for us.”

On the play of Ryan Kolb: “He plays exceptionally hard, he really plays hard. I was texting him this morning and was like, ‘Dude, you played really hard last night.’ And when your seniors and best players play really hard, it’s kind of filters down to everybody else. He’s got a lot of versatility in his game, but the biggest thing is he’s a really tough kid. He’s tough mentally, he’s tough physically, he’s a hard shell to crack emotionally because he doesn’t show a ton of emotion, but he’s playing like a senior should and a senior usually does.”

On Domenick Mastascusa and Ryan Kolb working together, as well as the impact of Sam Longwell: “(Kolb and Domenick have) been together now for three years, so they know when one is low (on defense) the other is usually coming high. They know where they’re going to be, too. We pretty much run motion offense, so having those guys in sync and working well together is huge. Some games, it is better for Ryan to be on the perimeter, while other games he needs to be down on the post, so it just depends on the matchup. I think Dom knows when he has a good matchup and goes to the spots where he can score and he’s been terrific for us.

“I think one of the keys to the whole thing has been Sam Longwell. He’s just (exhibits) consistency on both ends of the floor for every single practice and every single game, and he’s just been a rock for us and just has brought it from a leadership standpoint, talent standpoint and toughness standpoint. He often covers (our opponent’s) best player, too. He’s doing it on both ends of the court and he’s really had a special season so far.”

On the play of first-year guard Marcus Middleton: “What I have found with Marcus is he’s a really a good all around player, he’s got a really good understanding of what we’re trying to do and he’s got a lot of confidence in himself, both mental and physical toughness. I think our guys are pretty good when they get an opportunity because they try to take advantage of it and he’s one of those kids where we put him in there in some tough positions and he seems to come through every single time.”

On facing Springfield College on Saturday: “They’re a very mentally tough team. I think Sean Martin is one of the best point guards and one of the toughest kids in the region from what I’ve seen and I think Robbie Burke is the same. Tim Swenson gives them a dimension where he compliments those guys really, really well and he’s a beast in there. They also have a bunch of guys that can make shots from (beyond the arc), so they really have a nice balance and statistically they’re terrific, they do a nice job on defense by holding teams to a low field goal percentage and rebounding the ball well. They also take good care of the ball with Martin as their point guard because Charlie Brock’s teams always execute well. They’re a very, very formidable team, they do everything well, so you really have to be on top of your game to battle and we’ll have to be on Saturday in order to be a position to be successful.”

Mass. College Hoops: Ryan Kolb & Domenick Mastascusa Discuss WPI’s Win Over Wheaton (VIDEO)

By Matt Noonan 

NORTON, Mass. – The No. 5 WPI Engineers rallied from a slow first half start to defeat Wheaton College, 83-69.

With the win, the Engineers improve to 16-1 overall and 6-0 in NEWMAC play, while Wheaton falls to 7-8 and 2-4.

WPI’s Ryan Kolb and Domenick Mastascusa each chipped in 25 points, which was a team-high, while Sam Longwell recorded 17 points, six rebounds and three assists.

Wheaton was led by first-year guard Agyei Gregory, who tallied a team-high 25 points, while Will Bayliss added 19 points.

The Lyons raced out to an 11-0 lead before the Engineers rallied to close the gap to 44-41 at intermission. In the second half, the Engineers secured their first and only lead on a jumper by Kolb at 17:42.

Wheaton did rally down the stretch, but WPI secured their 16th win with a triple from Zach Karalis during the final minute.

Both the Lyons and Engineers will reappear on the hardwood next Wednesday, January 29, as Wheaton travels to MIT, while WPI visits Coast Guard.