MIT Holds Off La Verne, 77-74

Sophomore Matt Redfield

LA VERNE, Calif. – Playing in his home state of California, sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) recorded his first career double-double with career bests of 19 points and 15 rebounds, and the Engineers held off a late rally by La Verne University as they took a 77-74 non-conference men's basketball win. Senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) also recorded a double-double as MIT shot 49 percent from the floor and had five players reach double figures in the scoring column. 

Redfield started things off for MIT (9-2) with a layup a minute and a half in that gave the Engineers a lead that they would hold for the entire first half. Three minutes in La Verne (1-10) got its first points of the contest on a lay in by Alex Wolpe that made it 4-2. MIT then outscored La Verne 7-2 over the next two minutes, taking an 11-4 advantage after a Tashman basket at the 15:22 mark.

MIT still led by seven at 15-8 after a free throw from senior James Burke (Scotch Plains, N.J.), but the Leopards came back with six straight, including five in a row from Jake Vieth, whose three-pointer cut the Engineer's lead to 15-14. MIT answered with a 10-0 run, with Burke scoring five, to take its biggest lead of the game at 25-14 midway through the half. La Verne could not get closer that seven the rest of the way as the Engineers took a 45-36 lead into the locker room.

Over the first six and a half minutes of the second half MIT kept La Verne at bay and increased its lead to 12 points when freshman Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) hit a trey at the 13:29 mark that made it 57-45. The Leopards then made their first move of the half, scoring seven straight as they pulled within five on a Vieth jumper with 12 minutes to play.

A free throw and a jumper by Redfield moved the MIT lead back to eight points, but La Verne, which held the Engineers to just one field goal over a nearly seven minute stretch, continued to draw closer. A three-point shot by Jourdan Simmonds brought the Leopards all the way back, tying the game with 7:30 left and forcing an Engineer timeout.

A minute and a half later Simmonds gave La Verne its first lead of the game when he hit a free throw that put the Leopards up 65-64 with 6:05 on the clock. Redfield answered on the other end for MIT, throwing home a dunk that ignited an 11-0 run by the Engineers that proved to be the turning point of the game. Five different players scored for MIT in the run that was finished by a Tashman jumper that made it 75-65 with 3:21 left.

La Verne came back with six straight points to pull within four on a layup by Vieth with 1:19 left, but a layup by senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) with 18 seconds left sealed the win for MIT. Brett Stephan hit a three for the Leopards with 10 seconds left and Vieth missed a game-tying trey with four ticks left as the Engineers hung on for the win.

After Redfield's 19 points, Burke came off the bench to pour in a season-high 18 points, including hitting 4-of-9 from three-point range. Tashman had 10 points and 10 rebounds to record his fifth double-double of the season, with Kates and Pedley each adding 14 points. Kates also led MIT with four assists and four steals while Redfield added four blocks. Vieth led all scorers for La Verne with 25 points with Simmonds and Wolpe reaching double figures as well with 16 and 14 points respectively. Wolpe led the Leopards with nine rebounds. 

MIT will begin New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference play when it returns home, traveling to Wheaton College on January 5 for a 1:00 p.m. contest.