CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) scored a season-high 27 points to help No. 1 ranked MIT to a 70-60 victory over nearby rival Tufts University in men's basketball action in the Rockwell Cage. The Engineers held the Jumbos to just 36 percent shooting as they improved to 5-0 with the victory. Sophomore Ben Ferris (Essex Junction, Vt.) was the only player in double figures for Tufts with 17 points as the Jumbos saw their record evened at 3-3 for the season.
MIT started the game strong, getting six points from senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) as the Engineers built an 8-0 lead over the first four minutes. Ferris hit a trey for Tufts first points of the night and the two teams played evenly from there for most of the first 20 minutes, with MIT unable to pull ahead by more than seven points the rest of the half.
MIT led 27-20 with 4:26 left after a pair of free throws from freshman Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) when Tufts put together its first run of the night. A three-pointer from junior Oliver Cohen (Penn Valley, Pa.) started an 8-0 spurt that gave the Jumbos their first lead of the game when junior Tommy Folliard (Richmond, Va.) hit another trey with three minutes to go that made it 28-27. But MIT answered with a run of its own, finishing the half on a 9-0 run that was highlighted by a three-point shot by Kates as time expired to take a 36-28 lead into the locker room.
Tufts missed its first five shots of the second half and that opened the door for MIT to extend its lead. With three minutes gone Kates went on a personal 8-0 run, hitting a pair of three pointers and then stealing a Tufts pass and taking the length of the court for a layup that gave MIT a 46-30 lead and forced a Jumbos timeout.
From there Tufts could not get the deficit back under double figures until the final five minutes of the game, scoring back-to-back baskets just twice during the first 15 minutes of the half. Sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) helped MIT maintain its advantage, scoring 10 of his 12 points after halftime, including a stretch midway through the half where he scored eight of 10 points for the Engineers.
Tufts finally made a move in the final five minutes of the game; going on a 9-0 run that was started by five straight points by freshman Stephen Haladyna (Hamilton, Mass.). A pair of free throws by Ferris brought Tufts to within seven at 63-56 with four minutes left, but MIT came back with a dunk by Redfield and a layup from Kates to push the lead back to 11 with 2:33 to play and effectively end the Jumbos threat.
In addition to Kates and Redfield, Tashman also reached double figures with 18 points for MIT, which shot 59.6 percent. Redfield also led MIT in rebounding with seven, helping the Engineers to a 34-28 edge on the boards. In addition to leading Tufts in scoring, Ferris also led the Jumbos with nine rebounds.
MIT will take its 5-0 record on the road on Thursday when the Engineers will travel to Providence for a 7:30 p.m. game at Rhode Island College. Tufts will play at the Lopata Classic hosted by Washington University (Mo.) in its next game, taking on Illinois Wesleyan on Friday at 6:00 p.m.