CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – In a game that saw both teams shoot below 40 percent, Babson College won a defensive battle over MIT by a final of 53-42 in the final regular season game of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball season. Junior David Mack (Holden, Mass.) led all scorers for Babson with 15 points, while junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led MIT with 13 points.
Points were hard to come by in the opening minutes of the contest, and when junior John Wickey (Manchester, N.H.) laid one in at the 15:24 mark it gave Babson (20-5, 11-3 NEWMAC) just a 6-3 advantage. Baskets by junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) and sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) gave MIT (17-8, 8-6 NEWMAC) its second lead of the game and started the Engineers on a 11-2 run that resulted in a 14-8 advantage after a pair of Acker free throws with 11:13 on the clock.
Babson's defense then held MIT without a field goal for the next nine minutes, allowing the Beavers to regain the lead and stretch their advantage to eight points after a trey by Wickey at the 4:16 mark. Frankel broke the scoring drought for the Engineers with a jumper, but Wickey hit another trey with 15 seconds left in the half as Babson went on to take a 26-19 lead into the locker room.
MIT missed on its first six shots of the second half and Babson took advantage, running its lead out to 14 points at 33-19 on a layup by freshman Joey Flannery (Acton, Mass.). A basket by Redfield four minutes in provided the first points of the half for the Engineers, but Babson continued to add to its lead and pushed it out to 18 points with eight minutes left on a layup by freshman Sam Bohmiller (Franklin, Mass.).
Still trailing by 18 with six minutes to play, MIT used a three pointer by freshman Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) to start a surge by the Engineers. Butala finished the run with another trey two and a half minutes later, bringing MIT to within 11 at 47-36. Sophomore Russell Johnson (New York, N.Y.) drained another three for the Engineers that cut to 10 points with 1:32 left, but Babson did not let MIT any closer the rest of the way as it hit on four-of-four free throws in the final minute to clinch the victory.
Butala also reached double figures for MIT with 11 points. Acker and Johnson each led the team with seven rebounds, helping the Engineers to a 35-33 edge on the boards. Wickey added 14 points for Babson, with Mack completing a double-double with a team-high 10 rebounds. The Beavers out shot the Engineers, 36.5 percent to 32.6 percent.
MIT will be the No. 4 seed in next week's NEWMAC Tournament, and will host No. 5 Emerson College on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. in Rockwell Cage. Babson will be the No. 2 seed and play No. 3 seed Springfield College on March 1 at WPI in a 3:00 p.m. matchup.