February 6, 2014

MIT Drops 59-51 Decision at Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – MIT held a slim one-point lead at the half, but Springfield College opened the second half on an 8-2 run and held off the Engineers the rest of the way as they took a 59-51 men's basketball victory in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference action. Junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led MIT with 14 points, while Alex Garstka came off the bench to lead Springfield with 17 points.

The first half of the contest was close all the way between the two squads that came into the contest tied in the NEWMAC standings. In a first 20 minutes of action that featured five ties and six lead changes, neither side held more than a four-point advantage. After the two teams traded opening baskets, MIT (14-6, 5-4 NEWMAC) opened a 7-4 lead after a three-point shot from freshman Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) and a Redfield jumper four minutes in. Springfield (15-5, 6-3 NEWMAC) regained the lead on a trey from Nick Sienkiewicz and completed a 7-0 run on a layup from Robbie Burke to go up 11-7 at the 13:47 mark.

MIT came back to knot things up at 13-all a minute and a half later on a layup by Redfield, but Springfield answered with a layup from Tim Swenson. The Engineers again tied things up on a pair of free throws from junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.), but the Pride answered again, this time with a Garstka trey.

MIT fought back and finally retook the lead on a trey by sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) with 5:45 left in the half that gave the Engineers a 20-18 edge. Garstka pushed Springfield back on top by scoring the next seven points for the Pride, putting his team up 28-24 with another three-pointer at 2:30. Freshman Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) answered with a three for MIT, before Butala put the Engineers on top at the half with a jumper with 35 second left that made it 29-28.

Springfield scored the first four points of the second half to retake the lead, but MIT stayed close on a layup from Redfield that had the Engineers within one at 32-31. The Pride then scored four straight to stretch their lead to five points, but a jumper by Frankel and a Levene free throw kept MIT within four at 38-34.

MIT missed its next three shots, however, and Springfield took advantage by scoring seven straight to take a 46-34 lead on a layup by Larry Piretra with 13:20 left. That proved to be enough of a cushion for Springfield to hold off MIT for the rest of the game. The Engineers could not put together a run against the Pride and with 6:36 left found themselves in a 14-point hole after a trey from Sienkiewicz.

MIT did not score again until there was four minutes left in the contest when junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) hit a pair of free throws. Springfield hit only one more shot the rest of the way, but the deficit was too large for the Engineers to overcome as the Pride went on to take the win and split the regular season series between the schools.

Butala and Acker both scored 12 points for MIT, which shot 45.5 percent from the floor. Sienkiewicz was the only other player in double figures for Springfield, finishing with 10. MIT held a slight 31-28 edge on the boards and was led by Acker's seven rebounds. Sean Martin led Springfield on the glass, pulling down seven misses as well.

MIT will be on the road again on Saturday when the Engineers will play at Coast Guard at 1:00 p.m. Springfield will play at Wheaton on Saturday in its next outing, taking on the Lyons at 1:00 p.m.