WORCESTER, Mass. – After trailing by one at the half, the MIT men's basketball team came out and outscored Clark University by six in the second half to come away with a 55-50 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference victory. Senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) picked up a double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, while freshman Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) came off the bench to score 16 for the Engineers. DJ Bailey led Clark with 15 points.
In a tightly contested first half MIT (13-4, 4-2 NEWMAC) never had the lead. Marcus Armstrong scored the first points for Clark (9-8, 3-3 NEWMAC) with a jumper at the 19:11 mark and the Cougars never trailed again in the half except for two tie scores in the final five minutes.
Senior James Burke (Scotch Plains, N.J.) scored the first points for the Engineers with the first of his three treys on the night two and a half minutes in, but Clark answered on a three from John Karas to go up 7-3. The Cougars went on to stretch their lead to six after Nicholas Daprato converted a three-point play to make it 17-11. That would prove to be the largest lead of the half for Clark, as MIT answered with a Pedley layup and then a steal and layup by senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) to make it a two-point game with 11:45 left in the half.
Clark held on to its slim lead until the final five minutes when back-to-back baskets by Kates and sophomore Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) tied things up at 23-all. The Engineers tied it again on a pair of Tashman free throws with 1:55 left, but a pair of baskets by Bailey gave the Cougars a 29-28 edge at the half.
Tashman gave MIT its first lead of the night with the first points of the second half and went on to score six of the first eight MIT points of the half as the Engineers pulled out to a 36-31 lead. MIT's defense held the Cougars to just four free throws over the first seven minutes of the half before Clark finally pulled back to within a point at 38-37 after a Jonathan Phillips layin. But Tashman answered with a layup of his own and Pedley nailed a trey with 9:16 to go that made it 43-37.
Another Pedley three gave MIT its biggest lead of the night at 49-42, but Clark came back with six straight points to make it a one-point game with 3:23 left after a layup by Brian Vayda. It was still a one-point game after a layup by Bailey made it 51-50 with two minutes to play, but it would be the final points of the night for the Cougars. A pair of free throws by Burke with 32 seconds left made it 53-50 before the Cougars missed a pair of potential game-tying threes. Kates then made two more free throws with 11 seconds left for the final points of the night for MIT. Clark missed on three more long-range shots over the final seconds as MIT hung on for the victory.
Burke was the only other player for MIT in double figures, finishing with 11 for the Engineers, who shot 44.4 percent from the floor. Vayda also finished in double figures for Clark with 10 points. Bailey and Tyler Veretto each had four rebounds to lead the Cougars in that category.
MIT will play at Coast Guard in its next game, visiting the Bears on January 26 at 1 p.m. Clark will at Wheaton on Saturday, with tipoff slated for 3 p.m.