Engineers Claw Past Cougars, 68-67
Jan. 24, 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. - Jimmy Bartolotta scored a game-high 24 points and added a game-best nine rebounds to lead MIT to a 68-67 victory over Clark University at the Kneller Athletic Center, Wednesday night. The Engineers led by seven with just over a minute left, but behind an enthusiastic home crowd, the Cougars scored the final six points of the tilt. Dominique Beck had a good look from three-point range in the final second, but his shot caromed just off the rim as MIT escaped with the key conference win.
The Cardinal and Gray shot 62.5% from the floor in the second half and 54% for the night, while dominating Clark (7-9, 1-4 NEWMAC) on the glass. The win snapped a two-game slide and enabled MIT (9-9, 3-4) to once again level its season record.
Wednesday's first half featured five ties and nine lead changes, with neither team able to extend the advantage past six. The Cougars scored the first five points of the game, but MIT stayed in front the final nine minutes of the frame. A lay-up by sophomore Brandon Suarez at 6:43 gave MIT a 26-20 lead, although Clark rookie Mark Alexander quickly sliced the margin in half with a three from the wing. Senior Alex Krull finished the first-half scoring with two more points in the paint as the Engineers went to the locker room ahead, 30-26.
MIT's decisive advantage in the paint proved to be a critical difference in the NEWMAC battle. The Engineers out-rebounded the Cougars, 39-25 and out scored Clark in the post, 46-20.
Tech attempted to pull away early in the second half and after a lay-in by freshman Erich Bracht at 15:15, the Engineers found themselves in front, 41-31. During the ensuing three-minute stretch, Clark sliced the advantage to two after connecting on a pair of shots from beyond the arc and converting two attempts from the free-throw line. The Cougars finally tied the contest after a jumper by Peter Normandin knotted the score at 55-55 with just over six minutes left in regulation.
"I was glad that we were able to stay committed to our offense," noted assistant coach Oliver Eslinger. "Clark is explosive and can score in bunches. We were proud to see our guys respond and make some crucial plays of our own."
Krull connected on a critical three with just under three minutes on the board to push the Engineers ahead, 64-61. MIT added four points from the charity stripe, before Clark's last-minute rally.
Bracht added 13 points and eight rebounds to the MIT totals, while Krull chipped in 11. Normandin scored 16 to pace the Clark attack. Alexander (13) and Beck (11) also added double-figures, although the trio was unable to prevent Clark from dropping its fourth straight.