NORTON, Mass. - In a battle of two of the top teams in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), it was the Engineers of MIT who came out on top, defeating the Wheaton College men's basketball team 80-55 Wednesday night in Emerson Gymnasium.
The Engineers, who currently sit in second in the NEWMAC standings, improve to 14-4 overall and 6-1 in conference play. Wheaton, who are currently the third ranked team, fall to 9-9 on the season and 4-3 in the NEWMAC.
Junior Ryan Fogarty was 8-of-17 from the floor, including 2-of-5 from three-point range, while draining 1-of-2 from the free-throw line to lead Wheaton with 19 points. Liam Bruno, who started his second game of the season, ended the evening with 12 points. Senior Quinton Dale led Wheaton with 10 rebounds, while Fogarty pulled down seven boards.
AJ Jurko led all players with 21 points on a 8-of-12 performance, which included making 4-of-5 from long distance. Bradley Jomard returned to the MIT line-up where he finished with his first triple-double of the season. The sophomore knocked down 15 points, while pulling down a team-high 17 boards and dished out a game-high 10 assists. Spencer Rust chipped in 16 points and Tim Butala added 11 in the win.
The first half of action did not disappoint as both teams came out ready to showcase why they sit a top the NEWMAC, trading possession of the lead four times, while deadlocking the score five times. Jomard opened the scoring with a quick layup, which was matched by a Bruno layup for Wheaton. Trailing 8-4 with 16:11 remaining in the half, Wheaton rallied with a 14-0 run that spanned four minutes to take its largest lead of the contest. The Engineers countered with a 12-2 run over the following four minutes to tie the contest at 20-20. Down 33-32 with less than a minute remaining, Jurko ended the half with a quick layup, sending the Engineers into the half leading 34-33.
Fogarty handed the lead back to Wheaton to start the second half with a fast break three-pointer, assisted by David Carbonello. Jomard and Jurko teamed up seconds later to give the lead back to the Engineers for good. The Lyons kept the game within single digits for the first part of the second frame, but the Engineers finally captured their first double-digit lead at the 10:34 mark.
Wheaton returns to the court on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 1 p.m. in Emerson Gymnasium with a re-match against the Coast Guard Academy.