CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT outscored visiting Springfield College, 41-22, in the second half en route to a 73-43 victory over the Pride in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action. The game was the regular season finale for both teams, who finished tied for second in the conference standings at 7-5 and will meet next Saturday in the NEWMAC Semifinals. MIT improved to 17-8 overall with the win.
Billy Bender led the way for the Engineers with a career-high 24 points, making four-of-seven shots from three-point range. Will Tashman stuffed the stat sheet with 13 points, nine boards and five assists and Jamie Karraker also finished in double-figures with 11. Tim Donegan had a solid all-around game, finishing with six points, four rebounds, four assists and a pair of steals.
Jordan Rote was the high-scorer for Springfield (15-10, 7-5) with 18 and Matt Cavalieri had a team-best seven rebounds.
Tech shot the ball extremely well, particularly in the second half, connecting on 50.9% from the field and making eight-of-21 shots from long range. The MIT defense was also impressive holding the Pride to just 35.6% shooting and forcing 21 turnovers, which led to 26 points for the Engineers.
The game was tied at 13 midway through the first half before the Cardinal and Gray ran off 15 straight points over the next 6:19. Bender would score eight consecutive points on his own during the stretch, including a pair of three-balls. Rote snapped the streak with a layup and Springfield would close the gap to 11 at the break.
The Engineers pulled away in the second half, with two separate runs of 14-4 and 19-4, to pick up the win and clinch the second seed in the upcoming NEWMAC tournament. Tech earns the tiebreaker over the Pride after sweeping the season series between the two teams.
MIT and Springfield will play their semifinal contest at WPI, which earned the top overall seed in the tournament, next Saturday, February 26 at 3:00 p.m. The winner will advance to the NEWMAC Championship game on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and will have a chance to earn the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA tournament.