Feb. 3, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Despite being held to a career-low four points, sophomore standout Jimmy Bartolotta found other ways to lead the MIT men's basketball team to victory against NEWMAC-rival Coast Guard, Saturday afternoon, in Rockwell Cage. Bartolotta hauled in a career-high 15 rebounds and dished out a game-best eight assists, while Alex Krull sparked the scoring contingent with a game-high 20 points as the Engineers rallied late against the Bears, 51-47.
Coast Guard (11-10, 2-7 NEWMAC) was determined not to let the league's second leading scorer win the game for MIT (11-10, 4-5) with a big offensive performance, holding Bartolotta without a field goal attempt in the second half and only five for the entire game. The special attention enabled MIT's other players to secure good looks from the floor as the Engineers finished the game shooting 51.3% from the field.
The Bears endured a tough afternoon on the offensive end, shooting just 30.9% (17-of-55) for the game, including 5-of-22 from outside. Coast Guard stayed in contention and actually was in position to secure the road win mostly thanks to a monster advantage on the boards. The Bears hauled down 16 offensive rebounds, and outscored MIT in second-chance points, 17-0.
However, MIT stayed incredibly patient in its offensive end, often working the shot clock inside five seconds. Krull enjoyed the hot hand, especially early, and finished with 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Rookie Erich Bracht was also 8-of-11 from the field, adding 19 points and six rebounds to MIT's totals.
"I thought we adjusted well to their defensive scheme," noted assistant coach Oliver Eslinger. "It was a really gutsy win for our guys."
Jeff Prebeck continued his outstanding junior campaign, leading the Bears with 17 points and 13 rebounds. Al Sowers also reached double figures for Coast Guard by adding 11, while Ryan Burgess helped solidify CGA's big rebounding edge with nine points and 10 boards.
MIT led the entire way in the first half. Leading by as many as 10, the Engineers had a 26-21 lead at halftime. Coast Guard quickly cut into the advantage in the second half and took its first lead of the day at 30-28 following a lay-up by Prebeck with 15:55 to go. Krull answered immediately for MIT, setting the stage for eight lead changes and three ties in the final 15 minutes.
With every possession becoming increasingly important as the game rolled on, the Bears looked to deliver a decisive blow after Sowers drained a three to give Coast Guard a 47-43 lead with less than four minutes left in regulation. On the ensuing possession, Bracht took advantage of a wide-open three from the top of the key and sliced the deficit to one.
In the final minute of the game, Bartolotta showcased his leadership despite the limited offensive numbers. Driving hard to the hoop, he delivered a great pass to Bracht, who finished on a lay-up, while drawing a whistle. After completing the three-point play, MIT led 49-47 with 50 seconds remaining in the game. With less than 10 seconds to go, a potential game-tying field goal was neutralized after Bartolotta drew a charge. He knocked down two free throws between timeouts at the following end to seal the win.