CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A pair of free throws each by sophomores Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) and Russell Johnson (New York, N.Y.) in the final 19 seconds was enough for MIT to hold on and defeat the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, 53-49, tonight in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) matchup. Junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) led MIT (10-3, 2-1 NEWMAC) with 20 points while Coast Guard (2-11, 0-3 NEWMAC) was led by 15 points from sophomore Ricky Rodriguez (Caracas, Venezuela).
Neither team could generate any offense in the opening minutes, with the first points of the game coming nearly three minutes in on a layup by Acker. Rodriguez scored the first five points for Coast Guard, and his jumper five and a half minutes in tied things up a 4-4. Junior David Anderson (Goose Creek, S.C.) then scored the next six for the Bears, leading them to an 11-6 advantage with a jumper at 11:10.
MIT did not let Coast Guard build its lead any further and went back on top with five minutes left in the half when Acker's basket made it 16-15. Rodriguez answered for the Bears with a layup on their next trip down the floor, but it would be the final points of the half for Coast Guard. MIT finished the half on an 8-0 run, highlighted by a trey from Pedley, and took and 24-17 advantage into the locker room at the half.
MIT came out and hit its first three shots of the second half, building its lead to double-digits when junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) laid one in with 18:23 to go to make it 30-19. Coast Guard came back with a 7-2 run to pull back to within four at 32-28 after a free throw by sophomore Mark Krebs (Ballwin, Mo.) with 15 minutes to play.
In what was a back-and-forth second half, MIT responded with an 8-3 spurt that put the Engineers back up by nine at 40-31 on a layup from junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.). Coast Guard scored the next six points, and when freshman Adrian Chuquillangui (Manassas, Va.) hit a trey with 6:53 left, the Bears were back within three at 40-37.
Coast Guard could not come up with a big enough run to push back in front, and MIT doubled its advantage back to six with 2:46 left on a basket by Acker. With a minute left the Bears made it a one-possession game when a layup by sophomore Ryan McNeil (Plymouth, Ind.) made it 47-44. Sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) answered with a floater to put MIT back up by five, but Rodriguez hit a trey with 35 seconds left to bring the Bears within two at 49-47.
Pedley then hit his two free throws with 19 seconds left, but Coast Guard was not done as senior Devonte Weems (Chesapeake Beach, Md.) hit a shot with six seconds remaining to keep the Bears within two. Johnson was then fouled with two ticks left, and he stepped to the line and sank both shots to ice the victory for the Engineers.
Acker completed a double-double for MIT with 13 rebounds, with Anderson also notching a double-double for Coast Guard with 11 points and 10 boards. Redfield finished with 13 points for MIT, with Pedley also finishing in double figures with 10. The Engineers held a 41.7 to 35.7 edge in shooting percentage over the Bears, and also won the battle on the boards by a 42-30 margin.
MIT will play again on Saturday, January 18 when it hosts Springfield College at 2:00 p.m. Coast Guard will also be back in action on Saturday as the Bears host Clark University at 1:00 p.m.