SALEM, Mass. – Salem State used a second half 13-2 run to pull away from MIT and break open a close game as the Vikings went on to take an 82-77 men's basketball win over the Engineers. Senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) had a double-double of 25 points and 13 rebounds for No. 18 MIT, with senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) adding 20 points. Tavone Wynder scored 21 points and pulled down nine rebounds to lead Salem State.
In a first 20 minutes of action that saw seven lead changes and five ties, Kates hit the first shot of the game by either team to give MIT (7-2) the early advantage. A trey by senior Jimmy Burke (Scotch Plains, N.J.) and a pair of Kates free throws gave the Engineers an early 7-2 advantage two and a half minutes in. Over the next five minutes, however, Salem State (5-4) outscored MIT 14-4 to build its own five-point lead. A three-point shot by Trey Morin started the run and a steal and dunk by Wynder tied the game. The pair combined for nine points of the run that ended when Nate Simpson hit a free throw that put Salem State up 16-11.
Tashman converted a three-point play to halt the Salem State run, igniting the Engineer offense as well. The Engineers went on a run of their own, outscoring Salem State, 16-6, to push their lead back to five. Kates had a pair of three-point plays in the stretch, with Tashman finishing off the run with a jumper at the 9:07 mark that made it 27-22. Salem State came back again and eventually retook the lead on a shot by Justin Nieves with 4:32 left in the half. MIT took the lead right back on a pair of free throws by Tashman, but Hanell Velez answered back with free throws on the other end for the Vikings, who went on to take a 44-41 lead into the halftime break.
Tashman hit a jumper to start the second half and cut the lead to a point, but it would prove to be as close as MIT would get the rest of the way. Salem State held off the Engineers in the opening minutes of the half, opengin a 55-47 lead with 14:45 left on a three-point shot by Nate Simpson. Trailing by seven with 11 minutes left, MIT got a basket from Tashman and a three-point play by sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) to creep back within two at 60-58.
Salem State then made its move that would prove to put the game away for the Vikings. MIT went cold from the floor, hitting just one field goal over and eight-minute span that allowed the Vikings to outscore the Engineers by a 13-2 margin. Velez accounted for seven of the points, including hit a pair of free throws with 2:15 left, to push Salem State's advantage to 73-60.
Freshman Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) broke the MIT field goal draught with a triple and sophomore Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) followed with a basket to cut the lead down to 73-66 with 1:27 to go, but Salem State saw Andrew White hit four straight free throws to make it 77-66 with a minute left. Kates hit a three with 19 seconds left, but it was too little, too late for the Engineers.
Tashman and Kates were the only two players in double figures for MIT, which shot 46 percent for the game. Led by Wynder, Salem State had four players in double figures, with Velez coming off the bench to add 16 points for the Vikings, who shot 50 percent for the game. Free throw shooting was on display for both squads as the two teams combined to go 46-for-58 from the stripe.
MIT will be off for a week before traveling to Bridgewater State on December 13 for its next game; taking on the Bears at 7:00 p.m. Salem State will be off even longer, not playing again until December 29 when it hosts the University of Maine-Presque Isle at 6:00 p.m. as part of the Salem State Holiday Classic.