Strong First Half Carries MIT Past Emerson, 80-61

Sophomore Ryan Frankel

BOSTON, Mass. – MIT outscored Emerson College 18-5 over the last five minutes of the first half to break open a one-point game and went on to take an 80-61 victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball game. Junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led the Engineers with 24 points, while sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) dropped in a career-high 23 points to lead MIT to the road victory.

Emerson (13-11, 6-7 NEWMAC) got off to a quick 6-2 lead after the first two minutes of action when Michael Thorpe hit one of two free throws. Frankel then drained the first of his four three pointers on the night and baskets by Redfield and junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) pushed MIT (17-7, 8-5 NEWMAC) out to its first lead of the contest at 9-6.

With 12 minutes left in the half the Lions came back and tied things up at 12-all on a layup by Jon Goldberg, who then pushed the Lions back on top with a pair of free throws 30 seconds later. The game was tied twice more over the next several minutes as the two sides battled back-and-forth before a basket by Redfield put the Engineers back on top at 18-16. A Frankel trey pushed the MIT lead to four points, but Emerson cut the lead to just a point on a Thorpe three-point play with five minutes left that made it 25-24.

MIT quickly scored five straight on an Acker layup and a trey by sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) and the Engineers used the spurt to propel them on their run that ended the half. Thorpe went on to score the final five points of the half for Emerson, but it was not enough to keep MIT from jumping out to their largest lead of the contest. Over the final two minutes MIT hit on three consecutive three-pointers, with Pedley, Frankel and sophomore Russell Johnson (New York, N.Y.) all hitting shots that gave the Engineers a 43-29 halftime advantage.

Emerson could not make a dent in the MIT lead over the first 10 minutes of the second half as the Engineers maintained a double-digit lead throughout. With 11:11 left Frankel scored nine straight points for MIT, personally outscoring the Lions by a 9-4 margin, to push the Engineers' advantage to 65-49 with 9:06 left.

Tyson Hallowell scored four straight points for Emerson in a 30-second stretch to cut the deficit to 14 points, but the Lions could not mount a charge as Redfield scored four straight to put MIT up 71-53 with 6:32 to play. The Lions would not hit another field goal until there was just 1:24 left as MIT went on to take the victory.

Redfield helped MIT to a 54 percent shooting night by hitting nine of his 13 shots on his way to his 24-point effort, with Frankel hitting 7-of-10 of his attempts. Acker and Johnson each scored 11 points for the Engineers, with Johnson leading the team with 10 rebounds to help MIT to a solid 30-15 advantage on the glass. Goldberg was one of three Emerson players to reach double figures in scoring, finishing with 21 while sharing the team lead with three rebounds. Thorpe finished with 13 points, with Brian Hurley adding 12 for the Lions.

MIT, which has clinched a berth in next week's NEWMAC Tournament, will play its final home game of the season on Saturday when it hosts Babson at 1:00 in Rockwell Cage.