February 20, 2008

Clark's Late Rally Sinks MIT, 58-56

Feb. 20, 2008

Box Score

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Mark Alexander drained a pull-up three from the left wing with 21 seconds left in regulation to complete a late rally by Clark (11-12, 6-5), which moved in front of MIT (12-13, 3-9) en route to a thrilling, 58-56 NEWMAC victory in Rockwell Cage on Wednesday night. The Engineers shouldered their seventh consecutive loss after surrendering a six-point lead in the final 2:30 of the game.

Playing on senior night in his final regular season game at home, Alex Bagley scored a lay-up to put MIT ahead, 49-47, with 6:17 left in the game. The basket sparked a 6-0 run for the Engineers that junior Jimmy Bartolotta capped with a lay-up. Ahead 53-47 with 3:44 on the clock, the Cougars converted off an MIT turnover with a long three by D.J. Brinn. On the ensuing possession, the Engineers once again lost possession, and with 1:30 left to play, Pat Landers knocked down the game-tying shot from deep in the left corner.

Bartolotta scored on a driving lay-up to the left with 51 seconds remaining to push MIT in front and set the stage for Clark's last offensive possession. Alexander took a pass on the left wing early in the shot clock and maintained control for the entire exchange. As the clock dipped below 10, Alexander pulled up from several feet behind the arc and moved the Cougars in front to the shock of the home crowd.

The Cardinal and Gray had one last chance to tie the game, but another turnover proved costly and Clark capitalized at the free-throw line to seal the win. The loss marked the most consecutive losses for an MIT team to end a regular season since 1934-35.

Bartolotta led all scorers with 26 points. During the night, Bartolotta passed two MIT legends on the Institute's all-time scoring charts, passing Dave Jansson '68 and Harold Brown '72 for fifth with 1,467 points. He added eight rebounds and a pair of steals and blocks.

Clark was led by Pat Landers, who finished with 17 points on 5-of-10 shooting. At least six players chipped in five points while Peter Normandin paced the effort on the glass with seven boards.

The pace was quick in the first half, although a combination of missed shots by Clark and MIT turnovers kept the score low. The teams traded baskets throughout most of the frame with Clark getting even production from its bench and MIT relying on the play of Bartolotta and Mroz. There were 14 lead changes and four ties in the first 20 minutes while the Cougars scored 19 of their 30 points off turnovers. The Engineers earned their chances behind a 20-13 edge in rebounding. A jumper from the key by Bartolotta put MIT ahead, 31-30, just before the buzzer.

The second half yielded a similar conclusion, as Clark closed the night by scoring 27 points off 28 MIT turnovers. The Cougars' defensive pressure helped off-set a commanding, 43-24, rebounding edge for the Engineers.

Before the game, MIT celebrated its senior night in recognition of those players participating in their final home game. Alex Bagley, Alan Ho, Barnett Koryan and Will Mroz are set to graduate this spring.