CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT's men's basketball team successfully opened play in the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference tonight, taking a 63-36 win over Clark University in the Rockwell Cage. The Engineers jumped out to an 11-0 lead and never looked back as their defense held the Cougars to just 19 percent shooting in the contest. Sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) led MIT with 20 points, the third straight game he has scored 20 for the Engineers.
MIT (9-2, 1-0 NEWMAC) started hot when Pedley hit on a layup and junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) converted a three-point play in the opening minute and a half to give the Engineers a 5-0 lead. Another jumper at 16:52 from Redfield had MIT up 11-0 before freshman Lamar Berk (Saint Augustine, Fla.) halted the scoreless streak by Clark (9-3, 0-1 NEWMAC) to start the game at the 16:15 mark with a jumper.
Three minutes later Pedley and sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) hit back-to-back treys that pushed the MIT lead out to 20-5. With the Engineers defense holding Clark to just 5-of-28 shooting in the half, the Cougars could not put a dent in their deficit. Marcus Armstrong (Malden, Mass.) and senior Nicholas DaPrato (Marshfield, Mass.) hit back-to-back baskets after the MIT threes to make it an 11-point game, but it was as close as the Cougars would get in the half. A three-point play from junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) put the Engineers up 25-9 with 2:54 left before DaPrato hit a shot that made it 25-11 at the half.
MIT's defense continued to hold Clark at bay in the second half. With 16:17 to play a pair of technical fouls on Clark gave Pedley four free throw attempts and he hit three to push MIT to a 34-18 advantage. DaPrato answered for the Cougars with his only three-pointer of the game a minute later to cut the deficit down to 13.
That was as close as Clark would get, however, as its offensive struggles continued. Over the next seven and a half minutes the Cougars managed just one field goal and MIT took advantage with an 18-2 run that put the game away. Frankel started the streak with five points, with freshman Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) adding a pair of threes along the way as the Engineers stretched their lead to 52-23 after a pair of Redfield free throws with 8:06 to play.
Clark would not get closer than 23 points the rest of the way as the Engineers cruised home with the victory. MIT shot 44 percent from the field and outrebounded Clark by a 44-31 margin. MIT's defense, which led the nation coming into the game in scoring defense, held its opponent to the fewest points scored since the 2003-04 season when the Engineers held Polytechnic to 34.
Redfield finished with a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds while also blocking five shots and handing out five assists for MIT. Pierce added 11 points and Frankel 10 for the Engineers. DaPrato and junior Connor Dow (Needham, Mass.) shared high scoring honors for Clark with 11 points each. Senior Andrew Musler (Belmont, Mass.) led the Cougars with eight rebounds.
MIT will play again on Saturday when it travels play its first road conference game at No. 6 WPI at 2:00 p.m. Clark will also play again on Saturday when it hosts Wheaton at 1:00 p.m.