Nov. 29, 2005
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Senior Phil Murray posted an emphatic first career double-double, scoring 16 points and grabbing 12 rebounds to lead MIT past Fisher College, 66-58, in Rockwell Cage. Opening the season with a fifth straight win for only the second time since 1966, the Engineers were pressed mightily by a gritty Falcons' squad, which kept Tuesday's non-conference battle within single-digits nearly the entire game.
MIT (5-0) scored four points early on beautiful passes by Jimmy Bartolotta and Hamidou Soumare and seemed to be on its way to an easy win versus its NAIA foe. But Fisher (1-4) showed surpringing resilience, and as the Engineers' turnovers continued to mount, the Falcons built a 20-13 lead with eight minutes left in the first half.
Three-point field goals by D'Auria and Billy Johnson knotted the game at 20, although Tech's hardwood unit continued to flounder with poor ball movement and errant shooting. Johnson followed his three with a lay-up that would give MIT the lead for the rest of the game, but the Engineers could not break the game open. Up 33-29 at the break, the Engineers shot a season-low 41% from the floor in the opening frame and would finish the game with a season-high 21 turnovers.
The Engineers' lead hovered between five and nine for most of the second half, although Murray's jumper in the paint with 13:04 on the clock gave MIT its biggest lead of the night at 46-35. Showcasing resilience of its own, MIT kept the Falcons' attack at bay in the waning moments of the contest. Although Tech struggled from the field, they forced Fisher to shoot 34% for the night, including 0-of-7 from three-point range in the second half. Bartolotta helped to ice the game for MIT late, hitting five consecutive free throws to ensure a perfect record for the Cardinal and Gray heading into December.
D'Auria was 6-of-11 from the floor and scored a team-high 18 points, although he failed to reach 20 for the first time this season. Bartlotta, who chipped in 11, and Murray were the only other players to reach double-figures. Soumare grabbed eight boards and swatted a season-high three blocks to contribute to the most telling stat of the game; a 46-30 rebound edge for the Engineers.
Michael Newcombe had the hot hand for the Falcons and finished with a game-high 19 points of 7of-15 shooting. Steven Perry scored 13 for Fisher, while Dominic Jeter added 10 in the first-ever match-up between these two schools.