SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Fifth-ranked MIT built a 10-point halftime lead and held on down the stretch, escaping with a 69-67 win over Springfield College in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action on Saturday afternoon. Junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) and senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) were two of the four Tech players to finish in double figures in the win. Senior Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, W. Va.), who hit the go-ahead three-pointer and a pair of free throws to clinch the game in the final minute, finished with eight points, giving him exactly 1,000 for his career.
The win secures the fourth consecutive 20-win campaign for Coach Larry Anderson's program, as the Cardinal and Gray is now 20-1 overall and 8-1 in league play. MIT also sweeps the season series with Springfield, who currently sits third in the NEWMAC standings at 6-3 (14-7 overall).
Kates had 15 points to go along with six assists while Hollingsworth poured in 16. Junior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) led all scorers with 17, on seven-of-11 shooting from the field. Senior Billy Bender (The Woodlands, Texas) was the final double-digit scorer with 10 points. Bender and Tashman each had a team-leading seven boards.
Sean Martin's (Rindge, N.H.) layup with 3:48 remaining gave Springfield its first lead since early in the first half but Kates answered right back with a three-ball at the other end. Robbie Burke (Cheshire, Mass.) tied things up with a pair of free throws two possessions later and Martin grabbed a key offensive board on the Pride's next trip down the court. But junior Alex Berthiaume (Springfield, Mass.) was whistled for a turnover, denying the hosts a chance to regain the lead. Karraker canned his second trifecta of the afternoon at the other end of the court to put Tech back on top and the senior coolly sank a pair of free throws to ice things in the final seconds.
The Cardinal and Gray built a lead as big as 14 points in the first half and took a 39-29 advantage into the locker room. After Jordan Rote's (Sheffield, Mass.) three-pointer brought the Pride within one, 15-14, with 11:38 left in the first, the Engineers reeled off 13-straight points over the next 3:33 to lead by 14, their largest advantage of the afternoon.
It was more of the same early in the second, as Kates' layup at the 15:44 mark put MIT back ahead by 14. The hosts would come storming back though, with 13 straight points to cut the gap to just one, 48-47, with 12:05 to play, setting up the dramatic finish.
Karraker becomes the third Tech player to join the 1,000-point club this season and the second in as many games. Hollingsworth reached the milestone on Wednesday against Wheaton College and Kates hit the mark earlier in the year.
MIT will return to Rockwell Cage for its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday, February 8. The Engineers will face Babson College in the first game of a men's and women's doubleheader at 6:00 p.m.