BABSON PARK, Mass. – Junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) had a game-high 20 points, along with eight rebounds and six assists to help the No. 3 ranked MIT men's basketball team pick up a hard-earned, 72-63 win at Babson College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) play on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers move to 16-0 on the season while setting a new Institute record for consecutive wins, and are now 4-0 in the NEWMAC.
After Matt Palazini (Franklin, Mass.) cut the gap to six, at 61-55 with just over four minutes to go, Kates responded with a steal and layup on the next Babson possession to extend the lead to eight. From there, the Cardinal and Gray knocked down eight-of-10 from the foul line down the stretch to secure the win and hand Babson (8-8) its third conference loss in four games.
Tech scored the game's first five points and lead 16-8 after a three-point play by junior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) midway through the first half. Babson would respond with a 16-6 run to take a 24-22 lead with 6:41 to go in the period. Palazini capped the spurt with a traditional three-point play. Kates scored seven straight points to give MIT a 37-32 advantage at the break.
Both teams came out of the locker room cold, with neither side scoring for the first 3:30 of the second half. Matt Florio (Skillman, N.J.) ended the drought with a free throw but Tech would outscore Babson, 7-2, over the next 1:48 to take its largest lead of the game, 44-35, with 14:18 to play. Back-to-back three-pointers by Palazini and Marcus McDermott (Milton, Mass.) cut the gap to three.
The Engineers slowly built their lead back down the stretch, with the Beavers getting within six on five different occasions but would get no closer than five, as the Cardinal and Gray held on for the road victory.
Kates was one of four MIT players in double-figures, as Tashman and senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) each had 16 while senior Billy Bender (The Woodlands, Texas) chipped in 11. Tashman added seven boards and Hollingsworth was a perfect 10-for-10 from the charity stripe.
Palazini led Babson with 17 points off the bench, shooting four-from-19 from three-point range. McDermott 15 points and Alex Rudolph (Bal Harbour, Fla.) had seven points and a team-high six boards.
MIT will be off until next Saturday, January 21 when it welcomes No. 24 WPI to Rockwell Cage at 3:00 p.m. Babson will host Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, January 18 at 7:00 p.m.