CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - The No. 11 ranked MIT men's basketball team raced out to a 23-3 lead and did not look back en route to a 64-53 win over Coast Guard in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Saturday afternoon. The win clinches at least a share of the NEWMAC regular season title for the Cardinal and Gray, who improve to 21-2 and 9-1 in conference play, and now lead second-place Springfield by two full games in the standings. The 21 wins is a program high for a season, equaling the mark set in 2005-06 and 2008-09. Coast Guard falls to 7-14 (4-7 NEWMAC) with the loss.
After an Eric Hudson free throw to open the scoring for Coast Guard, the Engineers reeled off the game's next 15 points over a 5:46 stretch. Billy Johnson, Will Tashman and Noel Hollingsworth each tallied five points during the spurt. Hudson stopped the Coast Guard drought with a layup at the 13:24 mark but Tech would respond with eight more points, on a pair of three's by Hollingsworth and Jimmy Burke and a Tashman jumper, to go up, 23-3, just over nine minutes in. MIT connected on five three-point shots during its opening outburst.
Coast Guard would narrow the gap toward the end of the half with an 11-4 run, including back-to-back three-balls from Greg Marshall and Brett Hundley, getting within 11 with just under two minutes to go. However, MIT would score on its next three possessions to increase the lead back to 18.
The Engineers hit on 13-of-25 (52%) shots in the first half, including six from beyond the arc. Coast Guard struggled to find the mark over the first 20 minutes, shooting just 23.1% from the field and two-of-seven from three.
Coast Guard made a late run in the second, outscoring Tech, 7-2, over a three and a half minute stretch, closing to within 12 with 2:29 remaining. However, Billy Bender found Mitchell Kates under the basket for an open layup on the next possession to end the spurt and send the Cardinal and Gray to the win.
Hollingsworth was one of three MIT players to finish in double figures, with 17 points, including four-of-six from three-point range, to go along with eight rebounds. Tashman recorded a double-double of 13 points and 11 boards, also adding four assists. Johnson added 13 points in his final regular season home game for Tech.
Jevon James was the high scorer for Coast Guard with 13 points. He also grabbed eight rebounds. Hudson finished with 10 points, eight of which came from the foul line, as well as seven caroms. Huntley and Marshall each had nine points.
MIT returns to action on Wednesday, February 17, for its first of two games on the road to finish up the regular season. The Engineers travel to Wheaton College to take on the Lyons, their lone blemish among Division III opponents on the season. The game begins at 5:30 p.m. Coast Guard is off until next Saturday, February 20 when the Bears will host Wheaton in their regular-season finale at 1:00 p.m.