Jan. 23, 2010

Courtesy of Wheaton

CAMBRIDGE, MA- The Wheaton College men's basketball team became the first Division III team to defeat Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 17 games this season, as the Lyons shocked the eighth-ranked team in the nation by a 60-57 count during New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) action in Rockwell Cage.

Now having bested four 2009 NCAA Tournament teams, including knocking off last year's NEWMAC Tournament champs today, Wheaton improves to 6-10 overall and 2-4 in league play. The Engineers, who had only fallen to cross-town Division I foe Havard University, falls to 16-2 and 4-1 after having their five-game winning streak come to an end.

Having dressed just eight players, the Lyons had four guys play at least 30 minutes, with senior Ben Stehle (Newton, MA/Newton South) and sophomore Brendan Degnan (Narragansett, RI/Bishop Hendricken) accounting for 15 points each. Between the pair, they went 5-of-8 from three-point territory, as Wheaton hit on 52.6 percent of its 19 tries beyond the arc.

Senior Jaxon Leo (Leesburg, VA/New Hampton School) turned in 12 points and five rebounds, while junior Anthony Coppola (Watertown,
MA/Watertown) drained a trio of threes for 11 points. Sophomore Shawn Daily (Mount Vernon, NY/Mount Saint Michael Academy) added a career-high four blocks to go alongside five rebounds in his first start of the season.

For MIT, freshmen Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, NJ/Phillips Exeter
Academy) and Will Tashman (Atherton, CA/Menlo School) each had 15 points, with Tashman pulling down nine rebounds and having four steals, while sophomore Billy Bender (Woodlands, TX/Woodlands College
Park) notched a double-double with 12 markers and 12 boards.

Trailing 53-49 with nearly five minutes to play, Degnan's three at
1:59 made it a one-point game at 1:59. Following an MIT miss, Degnan knocked down another trey 41 seconds later to give the Lyons the lead for good. A Degnan lay-up with 32 ticks left capped a personal 8-0 run and gave Wheaton a 57-53 edge.

Kates made two buckets for the hosts in the final 24 seconds, but the Blue and White knocked down three of four tries from the charity stripe for a 60-57 edge with 12 ticks left. MIT had its final attempt to force overtime go for naught, as its three-point attempt in the waning seconds was off the mark.

Outside of three early ties and a pair of lead changes through the first 3:10, Wheaton carried a lead all the way until the 5:54 mark of the second half. Leading 22-19 with 6:43 left in the opening half, the Lyons used a 12-5 run for a 34-24 advantage at 3:09, as Coppola and Stehle turned in five points apiece during the stretch. However, the hosts scored the frame's final seven points to get within three at the intermission.

Wheaton breaks from conference play for two games, beginning with Tuesday's home contest against New England Small College Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) foe Tufts University at 7:00 p.m.