CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Despite a 20-5 second-half run by UMass Boston, the nationally-ranked No. 18 MIT men's basketball emerged with a 54-44 victory on Tuesday night. Senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) led all scorers with 19 points as the Engineers improved to 7-1 on the year. Junior Rahshjeem Benson (Boston, Mass.) compiled 13 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals, and two blocks for the Beacons who saw their ledger lower to 5-3 this season.
MIT quickly established a 14-2 lead which grew to 28-11 at the intermission. The hosts generated 15 points off of 15 UMass Boston turnovers and enjoyed a 40.9 first-half shooting percentage while holding the Beacons to a 17.4 clip.
The Engineers' advantage ballooned to 21 points early in the second stanza courtesy of layups from sophomores Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) and Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.). Sophomore Vinny DeLucia (Miami, Fla.) rattled off eight straight points to ignite UMass Boston's run which narrowed the gap to 37-31 midway through the frame. A layup by Kates ended the rally but the Beacons continued to attack, trimming their deficit to five on two occasions, the last on a Benson jumper that made the score 44-39 at the 2:49 mark.
A pair of free throws by sophomore Paul Dawson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) and senior James Burke (Scotch Plains, N.J.) gave MIT some breathing room; however, sophomore Cody Edmond (Plaquemine, La.) buried a three-pointer to make the score 48-42 with 1:11 left to play. Kates responded by scoring six of the final eight points to secure the victory.
Senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) racked up 18 rebounds, eight points, four steals, and three assists for the Engineers. Redfield finished with eight points and seven boards as freshman Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) posted seven points, four rebounds, and two steals.
DeLucia notched 10 points and two steals for the Beacons as Edmond added eight points coming off the bench.
MIT returns to the road on Thursday, Dec. 6 for a non-conference tilt at Salem State University while UMass Boston continues its road trip on Saturday, Dec. 8 at Little East Conference foe Keene State College.