WORCESTER, MA – A historic season came to an end. The Vassar men’s basketball team fell to No. 13 WPI 58-77 in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament on Friday evening at Harrington Auditorium.
WPI (25-2) was led from start to finish by junior John Lowther who finished with a game-high 21 points while adding three rebounds and a pair of assists. Colin McNamara added 13 points on the evening, which pushed him over the 1,000 point mark for his career.
In addition to the 13 points, McNamara added six rebounds, five assists, and four steals. Logan O’Donnell added 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while Aidan Callahan added 10 points and five assists.
Vassar (18-9) was led by Ethan Ellis, who managed 11 points and four rebounds. While the duo of Avni Mustafaj and Jack Rothenberg added eight points. Rothenberg also chipped in seven rebounds while Mustafaj added three boards and three assists.
The two teams traded leads to begin the game. The hosting Engineers started things off on an 8-3 run thanks to six-straight points to start the game from Lowther, but Vassar responded with four-straight buckets to gain an 11-8 advantage with 14:09 left in the first half.
A quick 7-0 run at the hands of Lowther and McNamara over 48 seconds gave the Engineers a 17-16 advantage and forced Vassar into a timeout. Lowther started the run off with a three, with the assist coming from McNamara. Junior Kevin McAuliffe scored an inside layup to put Vassar ahead 18-17 lead before the Engineers raced out on a 17-3 run over the next seven minutes of action. A final second layup from McNamara made it 24-26 at the break.
The two teams traded buckets to begin the second half until the Engineers blew the game wide open using a 14-1 run to make it a 63-37 game behind a McNamara and-one.
O’Donnell started things off with back-to-back three-pointers on ensuing possessions, followed by a slam from Lowther.
Vassar finally ended the run after four-straight points from Mustafaj, but the WPI momentum was too strong. Consecutive triples by Alan Cedeno and Logan Scott made it 54-75, but the deficit proved too much for a late comeback.