CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Freshman point guard Mitchell Kates scored 22 points, including three clutch buckets in overtime, to lead the MIT men's basketball team to a 98-93 win over Salem State, in a battle of 2009 NCAA tournament teams Thursday night. Noel Hollingsworth had his second 30-point effort in the last week to help the Engineers win their second straight overtime contest and improve to a perfect 10-0 on the season. Nick Linear did his best to lead the Vikings (1-7) back in the second half, scoring 27 points on 10-14 shooting, as MIT tried numerous defenders to try to slow the junior guard.
On three straight possessions during a key stretch in the extra session, MIT put the ball in Kates' hands and each time he delivered. With the Engineers holding a slim, 89-87 lead with just under three minutes remaining Kates drove through the Salem State defense for a layup. On the next possession, he drained a step-back jumper in the lane to put Tech up six. He drew an offensive foul at the other end of the court and then capped the run by finding Will Tashman for a baseline jump shot, giving the Cardinal and Gray a 95-87 advantage and putting the game out of reach.
The Engineers led by as many as 16 late in the second half, after a Kates three-pointer with 8:43 to go. However, the Vikings responded with an 18-3 run over the next seven minutes to close the gap. A layup by Terry Carter moved Salem State to within one, at 81-80, with 1:39 to go. On the ensuing possession, Hollingsworth was fouled after collecting an offensive rebound and calmly sank both attempts. Brian Clark then made one of two for Salem State to make the score 83-81 with 1:03 remaining. MIT had a chance to make it a two-score game but Nate Simpson blocked Will Tashman's attempt, giving the Vikings new life. Brennan Bennett misfired on his tying attempt but Carter was there to gather the rebound and, in the process, drew Hollingsworth's fifth foul with just 1.4 seconds on the clock. Needing to make both, Carter calmly stepped to the line and sank a pair of free throws, knotting the contest at 83. Kates' desperation, half-court shot missed wide, sending the teams into overtime.
The Engineers jumped out to a 17-7 lead just over six minutes into the contest after a Billy Johnson three-ball. Salem State would respond with 13-2 run of its own, taking its first lead of the game at 20-19 on a trifecta by Brain Marvie with 10:20 to go in the first. The lead would change hands five more times over the next three minutes with Kates putting the hosts up 25-24 at the 7:22 mark. From there, MIT closed the half on a 20-9 spurt and went into the locker room up 12. Tech shot an impressive 64.5% from the field in the opening stanza.
Hollingsworth has now reached the 30-point mark twice in his last four games and is averaging 27.8 points and shooting over 60% from the field over that stretch. The sophomore transfer also contributed seven rebounds tonight. Kates had four assists and three rebounds while playing over 40 minutes. Tashman added 20 points and eight rebounds. The 98 points were the most for MIT since putting up 99 against Suffolk last November.
Salem State had four players reach double figures, led by Linear's strong effort. Bennett netted 16, Brian Clark had 12 points while Carter just missed a double-double scoring 11 points and collecting nine caroms.
MIT will play its final game of the semester on Saturday, December 12, hosting Lesley University at 2:00 p.m. Salem State welcomes another New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) opponent, Wheaton College, on Saturday, also at 2:00 p.m.