NORTON, Mass. – MIT overcame an early seven-point deficit and held off Wheaton College in the second half to claim a 72-58 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball victory. Junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) led the way for the Engineers with team highs of 21 points and nine rebounds. Agyei Gregory led all players for the Lyons with 23 points.
After MIT (16-7, 7-5 NEWMAC) took an early 2-0 lead on a basket by junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.), Wheaton (8-13, 3-9 NEWMAC) saw Gregory score its first five points of the game to lead the Lyons on an 11-2 run. Quinton Dale scored the final four points of the segment, with his layup at the 15:28 mark putting Wheaton up 11-4.
MIT answered the run with a 7-0 spurt of its own to tie things up at 11-all on a three-pointer by sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.). Gregory stayed hot in the opening minutes and personally answered the Engineers by tying the game with a 5-0 run to put Wheaton back on top 16-11 nine minutes in.
A three from sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) at the seven-minute mark gave MIT its first lead since the opening minute at 22-20. The Engineers then finished the half by outscoring the Lyons 12-5, getting a pair of threes from Pedley, including one as time expired, that put MIT on top 34-27 at the half.
Pedley pushed its lead to 10 points five minutes into the second half on another Pedley trey, but Wheaton battled back over the next six minutes to cut seven points off the deficit. The Lyons started on the comeback trail on a Dale layup and, aided but a Gregory trey, pulled back to 50-47 when Gregory hit one of two free throw attempts with nine minutes to go.
Three minutes later the Lyons were back within one at 51-50 on a Will Bayliss free throw, but a three-pointy play from Acker, a layup from Pedley and a Redfield free throw put MIT back on top by five at 57-52 with four minutes left. Wheaton twice cut it down to three points, but MIT answered with a bucket each time to hold the Lyons at bay.
With 2:16 on the clock a Gregory layup had Wheaton within three, but it was the closest that the Lyons would get as MIT came back with five straight points, two from Redfield and three from Acker, to make it 65-56 with a minute left. That was enough to ice the win for the Engineers as they hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to clinch it.
MIT saw four of its starters reach double figures in a game that saw the Engineers shoot 47 percent and hit seven three-pointers. Pedley hit five of those and finished with 17 points, with Redfield adding 13 points and matching Acker with nine rebounds. Frankel added 12 points and five assists for the Engineers. Dale was the only other player to reach double figures for Wheaton with his 13 points. He led all players in the game in rebounding, completing a double-double with 13 boards.
MIT will play again on Wednesday evening when they make the short trip across the Charles River to Emerson College for a 7:00 p.m. NEWMAC game.