January 19, 2010

Cougars Can't Keep Up With WPI, 67-57

Worcester, Mass. - WPI had four players reach double figures and held host Clark to 36 percent shooting en route to a 67-57 win over the archrival Cougars before 1,213 fans at the Kneller Athletic Center in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference men's basketball on Tuesday evening.

The Engineers improved to 13-3 overall and 2-2 in NEWMAC action, while Clark slips to 10-7 and 1-3 in league action and now has dropped back-to-back games for the third time this season.

Despite shooting just 36 percent (9-for-25) in the first half, Clark kept the game close and actually took a 16-15 on a layup by Slader Lyell (Portsmouth, R.I.) with 6:45 left in the opening stanza.

WPI then closed the half on a 12-4 run capped by a Fernando Perez (Lowell, Mass.) layup at the buzzer to give the Engineers a 27-20 lead going into intermission.

Clark then opened the second half on an 8-2 run, trimming the WPI edge to 29-28 on a Chris LoPiano (Franklin Square, N.Y.) triple with 18:32 remaining in the contest, but the Engineers then went on a 22-7 spurt to take a 50-46 lead. During that stretch, the Cougars went over four minutes without a basket and committed five of their 19 turnovers.

Clark regrouped and went on a 9-0 run that featured a triple from Lyell, a three-point play from Jonathan Phillips (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and a long three-pointer from Drew Billington (Fairfield, Conn.), cutting the Engineer advantage to 50-45 with 8:05 left.

Over the next seven minutes however, WPI scored 17 of the game's next 22 points - going 10-for-10 from the free throw line in the process - and emerged from that run with a 67-50 lead that proved too big for the Cougars to overcome.

The Engineers connected on 48 percent of the field goal attempts (23-for-47), and made 17-of-21 foul shots, including a 16-for-19 performance in the second half.

Clark held a 37-28 edge on the glass, but struggled shooting, making just 21 of their 58 shots, including a 4-for-19 showing from behind the arc.

Jeffery Robinson (Granby, Conn.) posted a game-high 17 points in 30 minutes of action, while Perez, scored 10 of his 12 points in the first half. Kyle Nadeau (Webster, Mass.) added 11 points, going 3-for-6 from three-point land, and Jerome Stewart (Bloomfield, Conn.) chipped in 10 points before fouling out.

The Cougars were paced by Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass.), who had 14 points, nine rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) was the only other Clark player in double figures with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists.

WPI returns to action on Saturday when they travel to Springfield for a 1 p.m. start, while Clark will look to return to the win column on Saturday as well when they visit Babson for a 3 p.m. start.