WORCESTER, Mass. — Senior guard DaQuan Brooks scored 40 points, and Western Connecticut State improved to 11-1 following its 101-93 victory against No. 17 WPI on Wednesday afternoon.
The opening minutes of the game were highly competitive, with both teams exchanging baskets and the lead. Brooks hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Colonials a five point lead at 21-16 with 12:56 left in the first period.
The Engineers would respond with a six-point run, capped off by a layup from Matt Carr as the hosts took a one-point lead. Later in the period, the visitors again took a five-point lead as Michael Jensen hit a three to give his team a 35-30 advantage.
WPI would respond with a 3-point play by Carr and two free throws from Domenick Mastascusa knotted the score at 35-35 with 3:37 remaining.
With 5.6 seconds left in the half, Western Connecticut’s Ryan Pelletier completed a rare four-point play to give his team a 46-43 lead going into halftime. The Colonials were red-hot from behind the arc in the first half, shooting 10-15 from downtown.
Carr was dominant inside for the Engineers, scoring 13 points while pulling down nine rebounds and collecting one block.
After falling behind 51-46 early in the second half, WPI would roar back with an 8-0 run to take the lead, capped off by two free throws by Marco Coppola.
The second half saw both teams trade the lead back and forth, with neither able to build much momentum.
The Engineers chiseled out a six-point lead, only to watch the Colonials go on a 7-2 run that included two baskets by Jensen, pulling the visitors to within one, 72-71 with 8:52 left in the game.
Late in the game turnovers would plague the Engineers, as they committed three in a row, and the Colonials scored off each.
It was all part of an 11-2 run by the Colonials that would prove fatal to WPI, as Jensen would add a 3-pointer seconds later that would be the dagger. Western Connecticut took an 89-82 lead with two minutes left, and WPI would not threaten again.
Brooks shot 8-16 from the floor, with 25 of his 40 points coming in the second half. Brooks enjoyed success at the free-throw line, where he buried 22 of 24 shots.
Jensen added 18 points, three steals and three rebounds, shooting 4-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc. Gary Robinson shot 4-5 from three point range, finishing with 14 points. Pelletier would add 13 points.
Mark Redding pulled down 10 boards while collecting eight points and three steals. As a team, the Colonials shot 56 percent from 3-point range.
Coppola led the Engineers with 24 points, shooting 10-12 from the floor. Coppola also tallied three assists before fouling out.
Carr was a force for WPI, scoring 22 points and hauling down 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive end. It was the third double-double of the season and 10th of his career for Carr, who also blocked two shots.
Jaime Shannon tried to keep the Crimson and Gray in it, scoring 10 of his 17 points in the second half while dishing out a team-high four assists. Sam Longwell came off the bench to add eight points and six rebounds. Mastascusa also finished with eight points.