BOSTON, Mass. – Led by tournament MVP Garrett Stephenson, the 16th-ranked Engineers of WPI earned a 68-62 win over men's basketball Saturday afternoon in the championship game of the second annual Paula Titus Memorial Invitational in the Clark Athletic Center Gymnasium.
UMass Boston 62, #16 WPI 68
UMass Boston (4-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Stephenson's MVP performance consisted of 18 points and eight rebounds, as the Engineers big-man dominated in the paint all afternoon.
Saturday's affair was a back-and-forth contest from the opening jump. The Beacons did hold the advantage heading into the halftime break, but it was WPI who had the final say. WPI would take their first lead of the second half just under 15 minutes in with Jake Wisniewski scoring a lay-up.
The Beacons responded immediately, as the two teams exchanged baskets. A made free-throw by Stephenson with just over 10 to play gave the Engineers their largest lead of the half (46-42).
After the Beacons managed to tie the score two more times, WPI gained the momentum they needed thanks to a 7-2 run to make it 54-50 with five to play.
The Beacons would cut the deficit to one, one last time thanks to a lay-up by Dasan Cinelli (Boston, Mass.) with just under two to play.
From there WPI would quick push their lead back to five thanks to a jumper by Colin McNamara and a lay-up by Reid Walker. The Beacons would keep it a two-possession game, and with just over 10 seconds left in regulation cut WPI's lead to two thanks to another lay-up by Cinelli.
Unfortunately, four straight free throws by the Engineers clinched the slim victory.
McNamara led all scorers with 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting, 9-of-10 from the line.
Cinelli dropped in 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, which included a pair of three-pointers, and a 3-for-4 showing at the line. He also grabbed a team-best eight rebounds and matched Malik Lorquet (Sharon, Mass.) with two blocked shots a-piece.
Off the bench, Mariano Rodriguez (Burlington, Mass.) led the Beacons with nine points and matched the team high with a pair of 3-pointers.
BY THE NUMBERS
- On the day the Beacons shot 38.% from the field, while WPI finished shooting 47.1%
- In the first half UMB shot 54.5% on 12-of-22 shooting from the field, and 5-of-9 shooting from distance
- The Beacons would score just one 3-pointer in the second half, while WPI finished 3-for-6 from behind the arc
- WPI held a slim 33-32 advantage on the glass, but UMB did lead on the offensive side of the court 10-7
- All-time the Beacons are now 1-7 against WPI, with Saturday's meeting marking the first since the 2008 season
- UMB's only win over WPI came on February 5, 2004 with a 73-57 victory in Boston
- The Beacons are now 1-1 in the Paula Titus Memorial Invite championship game
- WPI entered the game ranked 16th in the country on the D3Hoops.com Top-25 Preseason Poll
The Beacons will host the University of Southern Maine on December 4 at 7:30 p.m. in the Little East Conference opener for the Beacons.