CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. – Freshman Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) sank a pair of free throws with eight seconds remaining snapped a 60-all tie and lifted the Wentworth Institute of Technology men's basketball team to its first win of the season, a 63-60 triumph over Wheelock in non-conference action at Pine Manor College.
With the win the Leopards stand at 1-4 while the Wildcats dropped their third straight to stand at 1-4.
The Wildcats jumped out to a 15-7 lead with 15-7 left in the half as Anthony Williams and Joe Reedy scored four points apiece. After Wheelock extended its lead to nine with 12:40 to play, Wentworth went on an 8-0 run and trailed by just one (19-18) on a senior John-Michael Fragnoli (Scotia, N.Y.) 1:38 later.
Wheelock used a 7-2 spurt to push its lead to six on a Williams basket with 8:42 left. The Leopards cut the lead in half on three occasions, including on a pair of free throws from freshman Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) with 4:51 left. After neither team scored over the next 1:29, the Wildcats scored five straight points – capped off by a Derek Fournier 3-pointer with 2:51 left and would eventually carry a five-point lead (36-31) into the locker room.
The Leopards came out in the second half on a tear, scoring the first 10 points and taking a 41-36 lead with 17:22 left on a Knollmeyer three-point play. Wheelock countered with a 10-0 run over its own, taking a 46-41 lead when Williams converted a three-point play. Ganley hit a 3-pointer with 12:34 left to knot the score at 46-all, and, after a layup by Reedy, junior Tim Juitt (Wellesley, Mass.) drained a three to give the visitors a 49-48 lead.
Wentworth led by as many as three (55-52) when Fragnoli hit a layup with 7:56 remaining before a 6-0 spurt gave Wheelock a 58-55 lead with 3:59 to play. On the Leopards' next possession, Knollmeyer buried a three to tie the score at 58-all.
Ganley gave Wentworth a 60-58 lead with 1:49 remaining, and, after Wheelock missed a shot, junior Cam Sennick (Wilton, Maine) grabbed the rebound. Looking to build on their lead, the Leopards missed a shot with 44 seconds left, however freshman Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) got the rebound off the miss. A quick foul led to the Leopards missing a free throw and Wheelock tying the game with 14 seconds left on a Williams layup.
After Knollmeyer put the Black & Gold on top, senior Nico Donato (Glastonbury, Conn.) caused a turnover and senior Ray Bessette (Dedham, Maine) hit one of two free throws to increase the lead to three with two seconds left. Needing a three to tie the game, Bessette forced a turnover as the Leopards held on for the 63-60 win.
Fragnoli connected on 7-of-11 shots and also hauled down five rebounds in the win. Knollmeyer and Ganley each netted career highs of 11 points. Fulcar and junior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine) had six rebounds apiece for Wentworth while Bessette dished out three assists.
Williams led all scorers with 22 points and had seven rebounds. Reedy and Matt Eason had 10 points apiece and Nicholas Fenton had five assists.
Wentworth opens Commonwealth Coast Conference play on Wednesday at Salve Regina.