DaQuan Brooks scores 40 points and Western defeats #17 WPI, 101-93

from the desk of the legendary Rusty Eggen - WPI Associate Athletic Director

BOX SCORE

WORCESTER, MA (Dec. 28) — Senior guard DaQuan Brooks (Atlanta, GA) scored 40 points and the Western Connecticut State University men's basketball team improved to 11-1 following its 101-93 victory over 17th ranked WPI on Wednesday afternoon.

Brooks' 40 points ties a career high which he previously scored against Keene State College on February 13, 2010.

It was the first game back from the Holiday break for both teams, who each reached the second round of last season's NCAA Tournament. WPI is currently ranked 17th in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 poll while Western Connecticut also is receiving votes.

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 (Somersworth, NH) as the hosts took a one point lead with 9:55 remaining. Later in the period, the visitors again took a five-point lead as Michael Jensen (Gales Ferry, CT) hit a trifecta to give his team a 35-30 advantage. WPI would again respond with a 3-point play by Carr and two free throws from Domenick Mastascusa (North Reading, MA), knotting the score at 35-35 with 3:37 remaining. With 5.6 seconds left in the period, Western Connecticut's Ryan Pelletier (Wolcott, CT) 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-of-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 (Watertown, MA). As it had for most of the first half, the second period 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 three straight turnovers allowed the Colonials to score on three straight possessions, capped off by a three-point play by Brooks to give the visitors an 86-80 edge with 2:24 remaining in the game. 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 prove the dagger as Western Connecticut took an 89-82 lead with two minutes left, and WPI would not threaten again.

Brooks shot 8-of-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 three-point arc. Gary Robinson (Torrington, CT) shot 4-of-5 from three point range, finishing with 14 points. Pelletier would add 13 points. Mark Redding (Waterbury, CT) pulled down ten 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 a 24 point outburst, shooting 10-of-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 Western Connecticut shots. Jaime Shannon (Lowell, MA) tried to keep the Crimson and Gray in it, scoring ten of his 17 points in the second half while dishing out a team-high four assists. Sam Longwell (Acton, MA) came off the bench to add eight points and six rebounds. Mastascusa also finished with eight points.

WPI is back on the court Saturday when they welcome St. Joseph's (ME) to Harrington Auditorium for a 2pm New Year's Eve matinee.   Western Connecticut returns to Little East conference play on Saturday, January 7th when it hosts UMass Dartmouth at 3pm.

Newspaper Box Score

Western Connecticut vs WPI
12/28/11 2:00pm at Worcester, MA

WESTERN CONNECTICUT 101, WPI 93

WESTERN CONNECTICUT (11-1)
DaQuan Brooks 8-16 22-24 40; Michael Jensen 6-10 2-2 18; Gary Robinson 5-6
0-0 14; Ryan Pelletier 4-8 1-1 13; Mark Redding 4-7 0-0 8; Michael Kennedy
2-3 1-2 5; James Barnes 1-4 1-2 3; Shawn Mobilio 0-0 0-0 0; Luis Bridtter
0-1 0-0 0. Totals 30-55 27-31 101.

WPI (8-2)
Marco Coppola 10-12 2-2 24; Matt Carr 10-16 2-2 22; Jaime Shannon 5-11 6-7
17; Sam Longwell 3-6 0-0 8; Domenick Mastascusa 3-7 2-2 8; David Brown 3-8
0-0 7; Jameel Galloway 2-3 0-0 4; Ryan Kolb 1-4 0-0 3; Chad LaBove 0-0 0-0
0; Joe Wesoloski 0-0 0-0 0; Mike Byron 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-67 12-13 93.

Western Connecticut...... 46 55 101
WPI...................... 43 50 93

3-point goals--Western Connecticut 14-25 (Michael Jensen 4-7; Ryan Pelletier
4-6; Gary Robinson 4-5; DaQuan Brooks 2-6; Michael Kennedy 0-1), WPI 7-16
(Sam Longwell 2-4; Marco Coppola 2-3; Ryan Kolb 1-3; David Brown 1-2; Jaime
Shannon 1-3; Jameel Galloway 0-1). Fouled out--Western Connecticut-None,
WPI-Marco Coppola. Rebounds--Western Connecticut 29 (Mark Redding 10), WPI
30 (Matt Carr 11). Assists--Western Connecticut 15 (DaQuan Brooks 9), WPI 10
(Jaime Shannon 4). Total fouls--Western Connecticut 16, WPI 24. Technical
fouls--Western Connecticut-None, WPI-None. A-350