Balanced Scoring Leads #9 MIT Past WPI, 76-53
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Four players in double figures, led by sophomore Billy Bender with 17 points, helped MIT secure a 76-53 win over visiting WPI in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Wednesday night. Noel Hollingsworth added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds as the Cardinal and Gray, ranked No. 9 in the country in the latest D3Hoops.com Top 25, downed WPI for the first time since 2003. With the win MIT improves to 14-1 and 2-0 in NEWMAC play. WPI, which has captured at least a share of the NEWMAC regular season crown in each of the past six seasons, falls to 11-3 (0-2 NEWMAC).
MIT scored the first eight points of the game capped by a Mitchell Kates lay-up at the 16:27 mark. A three-pointer by Bender with 11:12 to go in the first gave the homestanding Engineers an 18-8 advantage. However, the visitors from Worcester would battle back with a 10-3 run over the ensuing 2:58. Jeffrey Robinson began the spurt with a traditional three-point play and a Fernando Perez lay-up with 8:14 on the clock closed the gap to just three. That would be as close as WPI would get the rest of the way however, as senior co-captain Billy Johnson scored seven of MIT's next 12 points during a key run that would push the hosts' lead back to 13.
Coming out of the break trailing 40-27, the Worcester Engineers scored the half's first four points to close within nine. However, Tech outscored WPI 10-2 over the next 4:46 to open up a 17-point advantage that it would not relinquish.
Perez was the only WPI player to score in double-figures, finishing with 10. Robinson played a solid game at point guard, tallying eight points to go along with six assists. MIT held the visitors well below their season average of 82.8 points per game while limiting WPI to just 40.8% shooting.
Kates (11 points, 6 assists) joined Burke (12 points) in double figures as Tech shot 61.7% from the field, including 7-15 from three-point range. MIT also had a 34-21 advantage on the glass.
Both teams will continue with conference play on Saturday, January 16. WPI hosts Coast Guard at 1:00 p.m. while MIT travels to Clark for a 2:00 p.m. start.