Nov. 22, 2008
MILWAUKEE, Wis. – MIT men’s basketball rode a tremendous defensive effort while nine players scored in a well-balanced attack as the Cardinal and Gray cruised past Rose-Hulman, 69-43, in the first game of the 2008 Engineers Classic hosted by the Milwaukee School of Engineering. In the first-ever meeting between the two programs, MIT jumped ahead in the opening half behind a suffocating defensive effort before finding its rhythm on offense in the second half to cement the non-conference win.
Senior Jimmy Bartolotta sparked MIT’s (2-1) second-half surge and finished with a game-high 24 points on 9-of-16 shooting. Making his first appearance of the 2008-09 slate, fellow senior Billy Johnson added 14 points while closing a perfect 4-of-4 from the field.
Freshman point guard Blake Knotts paced Rose-Hulman (1-1) with 11 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, the rest of the team connected on just one three-point field goal in 14 attempts as MIT held its Engineering counterpart to 24% shooting for the game.
MIT set the tone with terrific defensive pressure early in the contest. The Engineers forced 15 turnovers in the first 20 minutes and picked up nine steals. Senior Hamidou Soumare swatted away five shots in the opening frame to ignite the strong performance while Bradley Gampel led all players with four thefts.
The MIT offense was erratic in the first half, but the attack did yield eight assists on 10 baskets. Despite owning a 9-1 offensive rebounding edge, Rose-Hulman shot just 18% from the floor. The Engineers enjoyed leads of 16-3, 24-8, and 31-12 during the stanza before Jeff McCartney hit a turn-around three at the buzzer to slice MIT’s lead to 31-15 at the break.
MIT executed its offense much better in the second half while shooting a blistering 68% from the floor. Bartolotta dropped in 14 points, including 10 in a row, during a six-minute stretch in the middle of the half to lead the assault. The Engineers also received contributions from everyone who entered the game as nine players logged at least 10 minutes.
During the game, Bartolotta passed Mike D’Auria ‘06 for third place on the MIT all-time scoring list. Gampel also reached double-figures for the Engineers with 10 points while adding a game-best nine assists.
MIT and Rose-Hulman both return to the court on Sunday, with Cambridge’s version of the Engineers set to play in the championship tilt of the Engineers Classic against the winner of MSOE and RPI. The consolation game is set to tip-off at noon with the championship to follow at 2 p.m.