WENHAM, Mass. – MIT placed three starters in double figures, led by 18 points from juniors Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) and Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.), as it opened the 2014-15 men's basketball season with a 64-51 victory on the road at Gordon College. The No. 16 Engineers held the Fighting Scots to 36 percent shooting while shooting 41 percent themselves.
A layup from senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) followed by a three-point shot from sophomore Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) gave MIT (1-0) and early 5-0 lead. Six minutes in Pedley hit on the first of his five treys in the contest, pushing the Engineers' advantage to 11-4.
Jaren Yang answered with a three-pointer for Gordon (0-1), starting an 8-1 run for the Scots. Taylor Bajema scored the last three points of the run, with his free throw midway through the half tying the game at 12-12. Another Bajema basket kept the contest tied at 14-14, but Pedley connected on another trey to put MIT back on top, a lead that the Engineers would hold the rest of the game.
Frankel and senior Andrew Acker (Marion Station, Pa.) each had four points of an 8-0 spurt for MIT that put it up 25-15 with 4:39 left in the half. The Engineers still led by 10 with less than two minutes left after another Acker basket, but a three by Dominic Paradis enabled the Scots to cut the margin to 29-22 at the half.
Gordon opened the second half with a basket from Hans Miersma, but a three from Levene followed by a layup from Acker pulled MIT back out to a 10-point lead two minutes in. The Scots stayed with the Engineers, however, and connected on back-to-back threes by Paradis and Bajema to get back within three at 38-35 at 16:21.
Baskets by Acker and Frankel gave MIT some breathing room, but Gordon was still within five at 42-37 with 14 minutes left. After neither team scored for two and a half minutes, Pedley connected on back-to-back threes to key a 9-0 run that gave the Engineers their biggest lead of the night, 51-37, on a Frankel lay in with 10 minutes to go.
With 7:39 left Pedley hit his final three-pointer of the night to extend the advantage to 56-39. MIT missed its final nine field goal attempts, but Gordon could not cash in as the Scots hit just 3-of-11 in the same stretch. The Engineers got enough points on the free throw line, hitting 8-of-13 from the stripe over the last two and a half minutes, to hold off any comeback attempt by Gordon.
Acker, who notched 14 double-doubles last season, was the other MIT player in doubles figures, finishing with 16 points and 10 boards. Frankel notched eight assists without a turnover while also picking up a pair of steals for the Engineers. Bajema hit on 8-of-12 shots from the field on his way to a team-high 19 points for Gordon and also led the team with seven rebounds and five assists.