Kolb and Longwell Star as No. 6 WPI Defeats Rival MIT in NEWMAC Home Opener

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Worcester, MA --- The WPI men's basketball team continued its fast start to the NEWMAC schedule in a Saturday matinee against MIT, building upon an conference-opening win at Springfield with another key victory, 59-47, over a team it shared the 2012-13 regular season title with. 

Senior Ryan Kolb (Southington, CT) led all scorers with 17 points, including three 3-points, while junior Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) followed close behind with 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Kolb pulled in 5 rebounds. 

It was the ninth consecutive win for No. 6-ranked WPI (12-1, 2-0), which pulled off a 22-game streak last season. After handing MIT (9-3, 1-1) its first loss since November, WPI resumes at home against another top team in Babson at 7pm Wednesday. 

MIT, who is receiving votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25, beat Clark by 27 in its NEWMAC opener last Wednesday and will look to get back into the win column at 6 p.m. this Wednesday at home versus Coast Guard. 

Backup guard Ryan Frankel (New York, NY) led MIT with 14 points, hitting all six of his free throws while Andrew Acker (Marion Station, PA) helped Cambridge's Engineers enjoy a 30-26 edge on the glass with a game-best 15 rebounds.

An early 3 by MIT's Justin Pedley (Kennewick, WA) kept the visitors in front for the first 2:17, but seven straight points from Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA), Kolb and Longwell put the hosts ahead 10-5 at the 3:48 mark. 

After initial pluckiness from MIT, WPI, who won its 24th straight game in Harrington Auditorium, would lead by multiple possessions for the final 10:05 of the first half after a pair of 3s, first from Longwell and then freshman Sean Doncaster (Medford, MA) made it 21-14 off a Kolb steal 56 seconds later. 

Zach Karalis (North Andover, MA) nailed another trey to give the home side its largest first half lead, 28-18 with 4:49 to go before the intermission. 

Mastascusa (9 points, 7 rebounds) was coach Chris Bartley's top bench player, but Karalis also pitched in eight points on efficient shooting. 

MIT brought it back close at halftime, 33-28, after closing on an 8-3 run. The guests then closed it to 40-36 on a Pedley layup 4:34 out of the break. 

Mastascusa drained a jumper on WPI's next possession, though, initiating a 12-1 rally over the following six minutes with 3s by Karalis and Kolb making it 52-37. 

The hosts nailed eight 3-pointers to MIT's one, with four different WPI players hitting from beyond the arc. 

WPI's biggest lead came under a minute later when free throws by Longwell made it 54-38 with 8:35 remaining.

Release by Carl Setterlund - WPI Athletics Intern - Emerson '14


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