ST. MARY'S CITY, Md. – After a run to the Final Four a year ago, the No. 24 MIT men's basketball team saw its hopes of returning there in 2013 dashed tonight as No. 14 St. Mary's College (Md.) overcame an eight-point, second half lead by the Engineers to come away with an 85-76 win in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Men's Basketball Tournament. Senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) went out in style in his final game for MIT, scoring a team-high 23 points.
After Tashman gave MIT (20-6) the early 2-0 lead, St. Mary's came up with the hot hand early. Buoyed by their boisterous home crowd, the Seahawks jumped out to a 9-5 advantage after Brendan McFall nailed a three from the top of the arc four minutes in. Sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) made it a two-point game with a layup on the next MIT possession, but St. Mary's maintained a slim advantage over the first 12 minutes as the two teams traded blows.
Tashman scored eight straight points for MIT starting at the 10:49 mark, and his shot three minutes later put the Engineers on top, 21-18. A trey from Jeff Haus tied the score, but sophomore Paul Dawson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) put MIT back on top before back-to-back threes from sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) gave MIT a 29-23 edge with 4:15 left in the half.
Back-to-back baskets by senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) had the Engineers up 34-29 with two minutes left, but the Seahawks came back, getting four straight points from Troy Spurrier to close out the half and pull St. Mary's to within one at 36-35.
MIT made the first move in the second half, outscoring St. Mary's 7-3 and taking a 47-40 lead on Pedley's fourth trey of the contest at 16:39. MIT then answered everything the Seahawks threw at them for the next eight minutes and still held a 63-56 lead after a Tashman bucket with 8:48 left.
MIT went cold, however, and St. Mary's took advantage. The Engineers went over three minutes without scoring and the Seahawks went on a 12-0 run that proved to be decisive. A three in the run by Nick LaGuerre put St. Mary's back on top, 65-63, at the 6:50 mark. LaGuerre ended up scoring 10 straight points for St. Mary's, and his basket with four minutes to go put the Seahawks up 70-65.
MIT cut the lead to three points after a layin by Redfield with 1:23 left, but the Engineers were forced to foul and the Seahawks hit their free throws down the stretch to preserve the win and move on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Pedley finished with 21 points for MIT, hitting on 7-of-13 three-point attempts, with Redfield adding 18 points and pulling down eight rebounds. LeGuerre led St. Mary's with 19 points, with Donn Hill putting in 17 for the Seahawks.