Men’s Basketball: NJIT Overpowers Wheelock

Six NJIT players scored in double figures Thursday night, as the Highlanders overpowered visiting Wheelock, 110-46, in men’s basketball on campus in the Fleisher Athletic Center.

The Highlanders (10-15) got a team-leading 14 points from sophomore Terrence Smith, who made seven of his nine shots and pulled down six rebounds in 12 minutes, all in the first half, which ended with the Highlanders holding a 54-25 advantage over Wheelock (1-19).

Behind Smith, freshmen Jake Duncan and Tim Coleman scored 13 apiece coming off the bench. Sophomore Winfield Willis, who started, and freshman Montana Mayfield, who was a reserve, each chipped in 12 points. And freshman Damon Lynn, NJIT’s top scorer coming in (17.2 points per game), rounded out the double-figure scorers with 10 points in 10 minutes of action, all of which came in the opening half. Sophomore Emmanuel Tselentakis and freshman Rob Ukawuba produced nine points each, as everyone who played for NJIT scored at least five.

Game scoring honors went to freshman Derek Fournier, who netted 18 points for the visitors from Boston, who faced NJIT for the first time. Fournier, a freshman from Rhode Island, shot 6-for-11 from the field, including 4-for-8 on 3-pointers, and making both of his free throws. Another freshman, Anthony Williams, who came in averaging a team-leading 16.7 points, added 12 points for the Wildcats.

The Highlanders, who made 14 of their first 15 shots from the floor, finished shooting 69.4 percent (43-62), including 12-for-19 (63.2 percent) on 3-pointers.

NJIT doubled the visitors in total rebounds, 40-20, paced by seven boards apiece for Odera Nweke and Daquan Holiday, the team’s two juniors. Williams led Wheelock in rebounding with four.

Three players on the winning team—Nweke (career-high), Willis, and Mayfield—had five assists apiece. Wheelock’s freshman Nicholas Fenton, who came in ranked third nationally in NCAA Division III with 6.8 assists per game, led the Wildcats in that category against the Highlanders, helped on four of his team’s 16 buckets.

The 110 points for the Highlanders were a season high and their highest total since they defeated Penn State Abington, another Division III program, on November 14, 2011, by a score of 113-61. Thursday night’s 64-point margin of victory was the widest for NJIT since a 137-37 victory over UConn Stamford on November 24, 1996, when the Highlanders were in their own last season as a Division III program.

NJIT, which never trailed on Thursday, scored the game’s first five points, but took a few minutes to begin pulling away.

Wheelock freshman Joseph Dionisio made a 3-pointer to get the Wildcats as close as they would ever get, 7-5, 2:03 into the game. It was 9-6 after Williams made the second of two free throws at the 17:04 mark. However, NJIT ran off 12 straight points for a 21-6 lead before Fournier interrupted the explosion with a 3-pointer for Wheelock to make it 21-9, NJIT, with 12:55 left in the first half.

The biggest lead of the opening half was the 54-25 advantage the Highlanders held at the break, as Smith had his 14 points, followed by Lynn’s 10 (4-for-5 from the floor, including both 3-point tries). Fournier had 13 of Wheelock’s 25 first-half points.

Three of the players who started the game for NJIT did not play in the second half, but the Highlanders continued their roll, anyway, winning the second half by 56-21. Duncan scored all 13 of his points in the second half, while Coleman scored 10 of his overall 13 points in 14 minutes of second-half action.

Courtesy of NJIT Athletics

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