CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – After being off since last week due to the past weekend's snow storm, the No. 22 MIT men's basketball team did not seem to be fazed by their unexpected layoff as the Engineers led from wire to wire in 69-44 win over Clark University in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference game. Senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) continued his hot play in the final weeks of the season, as he matched his previous career-high with 26 points and set a new career mark with 20 rebounds. His first rebound of the game set a new MIT career record as he broke the old mark of 954 held by Peter Jackson '76. D.J. Bailey (Palmer, Mass.) led Clark with 14 points and seven rebounds.
A layup by sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) and a trey from senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) put MIT (18-4, 9-2 NEWMAC) up early, but Clark (12-11, 6-4 NEWMAC) stayed with the Engineers and tied the game five minutes in at 7-7 after a layin by Bailey. The game stayed close for the next 10 minutes, with the Cougars staying within four after a free throw by Nicholas DaPrato (Marshfield, Mass.) with 5:43 left in the half made it 15-11.
MIT then heated up on offense over the last five minutes of the half. The Engineers hit on five straight field goal attempts, taking a 27-14 lead after a Tashman layup with two minutes to go. MIT did not stop there, finishing off a 16-5 surge on a layup by sophomore Paul Dawson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) that put the Engineers in control at the half, 31-16.
The late scoring run of the first half proved to be decisive for MIT. After the Engineers built their lead to 17 points early in the second half, Clark picked up consecutive baskets by Bailey to shave four points off the MIT lead. But it would prove to be as close as the Cougars would get. The Engineers responded with eight straight points from four different players, pushing their lead past 20 points at 41-20 after a layup by sophomore Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) with 16 minutes left.
Clark, which was held to 19 percent shooting in the first half and 29.5 percent for the game, could not put together a run and MIT pushed its lead to 24 twice over the next four minutes. The Cougars did put together six straight points, closing to 52-36 after a layup by Marcus Armstrong (Malden, Mass.), but it was as close as they would come. MIT came back with six straight points of its own to halt any comeback attempt by Clark, with Tashman sinking a pair of free throws that put the Engineers up 58-36 with 6:27 left. Clark could not get the MIT lead back under 20 the rest of the way as the Engineers increased their season-high win streak to six games.
Redfield notched a double-double for MIT as well, finishing with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Tyler Veretto also reached double figures for Clark, dropping in 10 points for the Cougars. With Tashman dominating on the boards, the Engineers held a 42-24 edge in rebounds, while they also outshot the Cougars 51.8 to 29.5 percent.
With the win MIT will face No. 5 WPI in a battle for a share of the conference lead on Wednesday night in the Rockwell Cage starting at 6:00 p.m. Clark will also play on Wednesday, traveling to Springfield for a 5:30 p.m. matchup with the Pride.