ITHACA, N.Y. – Mitchell Kates scored four points in the final 22 seconds to help MIT secure a 82-78 win over host Ithaca College in the NCAA Division III Men's Basketball First Round on Friday night. Kates and Jamie Karraker finished with 25 points apiece for the Engineers, in a back-and-forth affair that featured 16 lead changes and eight ties. Miles Grier led all scorers with a career-high 34 points for the Bombers, whose season comes to an end at 21-7. MIT improved to 20-8, the third straight 20-win campaign for Coach Larry Anderson's squad, and will take on the University of Rochester in the Second Round on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.
Kates' driving layup with 22 seconds to go gave the Engineers a lead they would not relinquish and the sophomore helped seal the victory with a pair of free throws to send MIT to its second first round NCAA tournament victory in three years.
Trailing by four with just over four minutes to go, Karraker connected from long-range to bring MIT within one at 73-72. Kates found Will Tashman on the next MIT possession to put the Cardinal and Gray back on top with 3:14 to go. The teams would trade baskets down the stretch, with the lead changing hands five times over the final three minutes.
A pair of Billy Bender free throws put MIT on top 54-52, just under four minutes into the second stanza, giving the Cardinal and Gray its first lead since the midway point of the first half. Karraker, who would score 13 of the Engineers first 19 points in the second half, extended the MIT advantage with one of his five trifectas and Tashman gave Tech its largest lead of the night, 65-57, with a layup a few possessions later. Grier began to take over from there, scoring the game's next seven points to cut the deficit to one at 9:24, sending the teams to the dramatic finish.
Both teams made early runs, with the Bombers jumping out to a quick 8-2 lead before the Engineers responded with eight straight points of their own, including a pair of three-pointers by Kates to put MIT back on top with 16:35 to go. Tech came out firing in the early going, making five of its first seven shots from long range. Ithaca used another 8-0 run midway through the half to take a 34-23 lead with 8:52 to go. Karraker would drain a pair of huge, back-to-back threes at the end of the half to send the teams into the locker room tied at 46.
Kates added seven assists and four rebounds to his outstanding offensive output. Tashman recorded his third straight double-double with 16 points and 10 boards.
The Engineers will advance to the Second Round once again, as MIT now stands an even 2-2 in NCAA Tournament play. Tech has faced the Yellow Jackets seven times in its history with the last meeting between the teams coming in 1986.