BOSTON, Mass. – MIT took a seven-point halftime lead and then held off UMass Boston in the second half as the Engineers knocked off the Beacons, 69-63, in men's basketball action tonight. Junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) recorded his second straight double-double with 27 points and 15 rebounds to help MIT (5-2) to the victory. Carl Joseph led UMass Boston (3-3) with 13 points.
UMass Boston had the upper had in the opening minutes as Omar Benabicha scored a pair of early baskets to lead the Beacons to a 6-1 lead three minutes in. MIT did not score a field goal until a layup by junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) brought the Engineers back to within one at 6-5 at the 16:35 mark. A minute later Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) hit a pair of free throws and MIT never trailed again.
Free throws were a big part of the MIT victory, as the Engineers hit 27 of 42 attempts from the charity stripe and outscored the Beacons by 15 from the line. Redfield led the way, hitting on 13 of his 21 attempts, with his 13 point matching his previous career best.
After Pedley's free throws, freshman Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) nailed a three pointer to increase the lead to four. Two minutes later Pedley hit a jumper that completed a 12-0 run over a five minute span to make it 13-6. A jumper by BJ Rosary III broke the scoring drought for UMass Boston, but back-to-back treys by Pierce and Pedley took the MIT lead out to 19-8.
MIT held its lead near the 10-point mark until the final three minutes of the half when UMass Boston was able to shave a few points off the Engineers' lead. A three-point play from Joseph and a jumper from Dontreal Thomas cut the MIT advantage to 30-25 with less than two minutes to play. A layup by Acker as time expired put the Engineers back up by seven, 32-25, at the half.
Like the first half, MIT had a tough time getting a field goal in the opening minutes of the second, with a basket by junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) provided the only points in the first three minutes for the Engineers. UMass Boston took advantage and closed to within three at 34-31 when Jerard Mayes made a layup at 17:55.
The Beacons cut it to two at 38-36 on a Kadeem Coulter layup with 14:41 left before both squads went cold. Over the next three minutes there was no scoring as the teams combined to go 0-6 from the field. Redfield broke the streak with a layup and MIT still held a two-point lead with 7:27 left when Pierce hit his third trey of the game to make it a five-point advantage, 47-42.
Sophomore Lampros Tsontzos (Amarousion, Greece) came off the bench at the 5:30 mark and scored six straight points for the Engineers, helping them increase their lead back up to nine with two minutes left after a layup by Redfield. UMass Boston pulled back to within four with a minute left after a free throw by Gregory Young, but MIT hit 11-of-14 free throws down the stretch to hold off the Beacons.
Pedley went 9-for-10 from the free throw line on his way to a 14-point night, while Pierce hit all three of his three-point attempts to reach a season-high 11 points for MIT. Benabicha and Jerard Mayes each added 12 points for UMass Boston, with Thomas adding 11 off the bench.
MIT will host Salem State on Thursday night in its next action, taking on the Vikings at 7:00 p.m. in Rockwell Cage. UMass Boston will host Keene State on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.