BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – Playing for the last time before final exams, MIT's men's basketball team shook off losses in its last two road games and shot 64 percent at Bridgewater State as the Engineers took a 74-61 victory over the Bears. Sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) scored a career-high 18 points for MIT as the Engineers improved to 8-2 on the season. Bridgewater State fell to 3-5 with the loss.
Freshman Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) gave MIT and early 5-0 advantage, hitting on a layup and a three-pointer on his first two field goal attempts over the first two minutes of the game. The Engineers could not pull away early, however, as Bridgewater State scored the next six points of the game, taking a 6-5 lead after a steal and an ensuing dunk by Michael Loftin. Redfield answered for MIT with a dunk on the other end, putting MIT back in front.
Bridgewater State then picked up the next six points of the game, blanking MIT for nearly five minutes as the Bears took a 12-7 advantage on another Lofton dunk at the 13-minute mark. MIT recovered, as senior James Burke (Scotch Plains, N.J.) broke the scoring drought for the Engineers with a trey and senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) tied things up at 12-all with a layup with 12 minutes left.
It remained close until the final nine minutes of the half when MIT made a move that resulted in a 10-point halftime lead. Sophomore Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) and Redfield scored baskets that started a 21-10 MIT run over the rest of the half. Burke hit back-to-back treys for the Engineers in front of senior Mitchell Kates' (Colts Neck, N.J.) conventional three-point play that gave MIT its biggest lead of the game to that point, 29-21. The MIT defense did the rest, holding Bridgewater State to just one field goal and four free throws over the last six minutes of the half as the Engineers took a 37-27 lead at the intermission.
Bridgewater State quickly closed to five points early in the second half after a Lofton basket and a three by Brian Grossman. Redfield scored the first points of the half for MIT two minutes in, the start of a 12-point final stanza for the sophomore, as MIT went on to get the five points back to take a 42-32 lead on a Kates lay-in.
Again the Bears made a run at the Engineers, going on a 7-0 run to cut the MIT lead to 42-39 as Lofton hit for two of his 18 points at the 14:21 mark. That would prove to be as close as Bridgewater State would get, however. Redfield converted a three-point play that started an MIT surge that saw the Engineers outscore the Bears 16-4 over a five-minute stretch to pull away again. Redfield scored seven of the points during the run as MIT opened a 58-43 advantage on a Kates layup with nine minutes to play, forcing a Bears' timeout.
A Lofton layup with 4:18 left cut the deficit to five points at 59-54, but Kates and Tashman answered with baskets and the Engineers held off the Bears from there. Sophomore Paul Dawson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) scored five points over the final 1:40 to ice the win.
Redfield also led MIT in rebounds with nine, as the Engineers held a 30-13 edge on the boards. Burke finished with 15 points for MIT, hitting 3-of-5 from three-point range, with Kates adding 11 points and four assists. Lofton was one of three players in double figures for Bridgewater State, with Brendan Monteiro and Kyle Gibson adding 13 each. Lofton led the Bears with five rebounds, with Grossman coming up with six steals.
MIT will take a break for the Holidays before returning to competition after Christmas when the Engineers will travel to California for a New Year's Eve matchup with La Verne University at 5:00 p.m. Eastern. Bridgewater State will also be off until the final week of December when they play at the Montclair State Holiday Tournament where the Bears will face host Montclair State on Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m.