Providence, R.I. — Mason Choice notched a season-high 17 points to go along with six rebounds as Rhode Island College used stifling defense to knock off previously undefeated and 15th-ranked WPI 57-47 at the Murray Center on Thursday night. RIC stayed undefeated on the season with the win, and is now 9-0 for the first time since 1970-71.
“Our defensive effort was phenomenal tonight”, RIC head coach Bob Walsh said. “We held a great team that was averaging 85 points to 47 points. We outrebounded them by nine, and they have been killing people on the glass. This was a great win.”
The Anchormen held WPI (7-1) to just 34 percent shooting from the floor, limited the Engineers to a season-low of 47 points and outrebounded the visitors 41-32. Aside from Choice’s offensive outburst in the second half, the scoring was led by Mike Akinrola and Tahrike Carter, who finished with 14 and 12 points, respectively. Akinrola added six boards, while Carter tallied four assists, three rebounds, two blocks and two steals.
Rhode Island College opened the action with the first six points of the game on perfect 3-of-3 shooting. After David Brown drained a three to put WPI on the board, RIC answered with a layup from Choice and a three-pointer from Carter to take an 11-3 lead with 15:40 remaining.
After back-to-back baskets from Domenick Mastascusa put WPI in double-digits with 12:10 left in the half, RIC responded immediately to extend its lead to 13 on a pair of buckets from Akinrola and Carter, making it 23-10 with 11:23 left to play in the half.
However, the Engineers bounced back with stingy defense through the conclusion of the first frame, limiting RIC to just four points during that stretch. Brown led WPI with eight points over the final 11 minutes, as the hosts went on a 14-4 run to make it 27-24 at the half.
After the two teams exchanged baskets to open the second half, Sam Longwell buried a trey to tie the game at 31 with 15:47 remaining. After Brandon Hill answered with a three of his own for RIC, Ryan Kolb and Marco Coppola drilled back-to-back jumpers from beyond the arc to put WPI back on top 37-34 with 11:50 on the clock.
However, after Akinrola connected on a layup with 11:23 remaining to pull RIC within one, Choice splashed a mid-range jumper with 10:39 remaining to make it 38-37. A three-point play from Choice put RIC up 41-37 with 9:01 on the clock and the Anchormen never looked back, holding on to the lead for the remainder of the game. RIC outscored the Engineers 19-10 over the final 10 minutes, with 13 of those points coming at the charity stripe.
Brown led WPI with 13 points, while Coppola finished with 11 points and five assists. Mastascusa notched nine points, while Matt Carr tallied six points, five boards, and pair of blocks. Longwell also chipped in with five points in the loss.
Hill totaled a career-high eight points for RIC off the bench, while Chris Burton and Steven Roberts contributed on the glass with six and five rebounds, respectively.