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Worcester State Pulls Away From Men's Basketball

Worcester State Pulls Away From Men's Basketball

WORCESTER, Mass. – Junior Bilal Shakir (Worcester, Mass.) led five players in double figures as he scored a game-high 22 points to help lift the Worcester State men's basketball team to an 81-66 win over Wentworth Institute of Technology on the second day of the Clark Alumni Holiday Invitational.

Winners of three in a row the Lancers improve to 7-5 while the Leopards slip to 4-6. This was the first-ever meeting between the two programs.

After falling behind early, Worcester State scored six straight points before a senior Kyle Romich (Groton, Mass.) three-pointer trimmed the deficit to one. The Lancers led by four with 16:28 left after a Shakir basket, however Romich drained another trifecta 17 seconds later to bring the game back to one.

Shakir hit a triple of his own to push the lead to four and senior Ian Therriault (Auburn, Maine) cut the lead in half with a layup.

Worcester State maintained its lead until a sophomore Cesar Fulcar (Watertown, Mass.) layup and a three pointer from sophomore Matthew Dean (Gilford, N.H.) gave Wentworth a two-point (28-26) lead with 7:54 left. On the Lancers' next possession, Shakir knotted the game at 28-all, however sophomore Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) gave the Black & Gold a 30-28 lead with 6:09 left.

The Lancers used a 7-0 run over the next 1:06 and took a 35-30 lead after a three pointer from freshman Alex Santos (Lawrence, Mass.). Romich responded with a three of his own, which was matched by one by Shakir. Ganley made it a three-point game with a basket with 2:44 remaining in the half.

Santos drained a pair from behind the arc – sandwiched around one from sophomore Ben Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) – to give Worcester State a 46-40 lead at the half. Both teams shot well over the first 20 minutes with the Lancers connecting on 53.1 percent of their shots and the Leopards 48.6 percent.

Wentworth trimmed the lead to as few as four early in the second half, including when Ganley converted a layup with 14:59 remaining. However, the Leopards went on a scoring drought of just over four minutes. Despite the drought, the Lancers were only able to increase their lead to eight as they would be held without a field goal for just under four minutes.

A three pointer from sophomore Sam Knollmeyer (Hampton, N.H.) made it 62-57 with 8:52 left but Worcester State scored the next seven points to push its lead into double digits. A Ganley layup with 3:24 left brought the lead down to single digits, however the Leopards would get no closer.

In addition to his 22 points, Shakir had six assists. Santos finished with 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, and four steals, junior Marquez McKreith-Collins (Springfield, Mass.) had 15 points and four assists, junior Ryan DiBernardo (Worcester, Mass.) had 11 points, and junior Paul Brooks (Arlington, Mass.) added 10 points. In the second half Worcester State shot 50 percent from the floor while Wentworth shot just 29.1 percent.

Romich, who earned a spot on the all-tournament team, finished with 19 points to go along with seven rebounds. Ganley added 16 points, and Dean scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

Wentworth resumes Commonwealth Coast Conference play on Tuesday at Western New England.