January 29, 2014

Strong Second Half Carries MIT Past Wheaton, 75-57

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Leading by just two points at halftime, MIT broke the game open midway through the second half as it took a 75-57 decision over Wheaton College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference men's basketball game. The Engineers picked up double-doubles of 23 points and 10 rebounds from junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) and 22 points and 15 rebounds from junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) on their way to the victory. Wheaton was led by 12 points from freshman Quinton Dale (Winthrop, Mass.).

Wheaton (7-9, 2-5 NEWMAC) got off to a good start in the contest as it pushed out to a 10-5 lead five minutes in on a trey by junior Mike Cannon (New York, N.Y). The Lyons made it a six-point advantage at 14-8 after a jumper by sophomore Billy Battaglia (Simsbury, Conn.), but a jumper by Redfield started MIT (14-4, 5-2 NEWMAC) on a 9-0 run to answer. Sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) connected on a three-pointer during the stretch that gave MIT its first lead of the game, and Redfield finished what he started with a layup that had the Engineers on top, 17-14, with 10:40 left in the half.

From there it remained tight as neither squad could produce more than a two-point advantage until the final minute of the half. After Redfield's basket there were eight lead changes and three ties over the final 10 minutes of play. Freshman Ageyi Gregory (St. Thomas, Virgin Islands) put Wheaton on top 29-28 with 1:34 left with a lay in, but MIT came back with five straight points to take a four-point advantage with 39 seconds to play. The Lyons made it a two-point game at the half when senior Will Bayliss (Manchester, N.H.) hit a base-line jumper with two ticks left to make it 33-31 at the half.

Dale tied things up at the start of the second half with a layup a minute in, and then put Wheaton back on top with a free throw just under a minute later. It proved to be the last lead for the Lyons in the game, however, as Pedley hit a three at the 17:34 mark that put MIT up 36-34.

With 15:00 minutes left a lay in by Alex Sugarman (Concord, Mass.) had the Lyons within one at 39-38, but Acker grabbed an offensive rebound and laid it back in to start a 12-2 run by MIT over the next three minutes that put the Engineers on top 51-40 on a slam by Redfield with 11:29 to go. With 7:28 left Wheaton closed to within six on a Cannon jumper at the 6:18 mark, but the Lyons were held to just five points the rest of the way as MIT pulled away down the stretch for the victory.

MIT shot 56.5 percent in the second half and 52.2 percent for the game while holding Wheaton to 40.4 percent shooting. The Engineers also held a comfortable 42-25 edge on the boards. Pedley was the only other MIT player in double figures in the scoring column, hitting four treys on his way to 13 points. Cannon also finished in double figures for Wheaton with 10 points and also led the Lyons with five rebounds.

MIT will be on the road for its next game, traveling to Clark University on Saturday for a 1:00 p.m. game with the Cougars. Wheaton will play next on Sunday when it hosts Coast Guard at 1:00 p.m.