BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – A three-pointer from sophomore Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) with four seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime, but Bridgewater State outscored MIT, 11-4, in the extra time to pull out an 84-77 victory in a non-conference men's basketball game this afternoon. The Engineers saw three hit the 20-point mark, led by sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) who put in a season-high 22 points.
In a game that saw 18 lead changes and six ties, Butala's shot was one of two long-range jumpers he canned in the final 11 seconds that enabled MIT (7-3) to send the contest to overtime. A minute in to the extra time Frankel hit on a layup that gave the Engineers a 75-74 edge, but Bridgewater State (5-3) scored six straight points, with a three from Justin Clark putting the Bears up 80-75 with 2:14 left. Butala pulled MIT within four with 27 seconds left on a layup, but it was the final points of the day for the Engineers as Bridgewater State canned 3-of-4 free throws to hold on for the win.
Neither team held more than an eight-point lead during regulation in a contest that was close all the way. The two squads went back-and-forth over the first few minutes of the game, and when senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) hit his second trey of the game five minutes in the Engineers and Bears were deadlocked at 10-10. Gibson answered the three to put Bridgewater State back on top, but a Butala layup started the first run of the game for either side, and when Frankel hit a jumper with 9:32 on the clock it completed an 11-0 run that had MIT up 21-13.
Bridgewater State came back, slowly chipping away at the MIT lead until a three from Rocky Deandrade had the Bears back within two at 27-25 with 2:37 left. A layup by junior Russell Johnson (New York, N.Y.) pushed the MIT advantage back to four, but Bridgewater State ended the half by scoring the final 10 points, with Deandrade hitting another trey with six seconds left to give the Bears a 35-31 lead at the half.
Levene scored the first four points of the second half to pull the Engineers back to within a point, and four minutes in Frankel nailed a three that put MIT back on top, 42-41. The lead then changed hands four times over the next five minutes, with the fourth coming on a Levene layup that made it 48-47 in favor of the Engineers.
Frankel then converted a three-point play midway through the half to put MIT up 51-47, its biggest lead of the half. Bridgewater State did not let the Engineers pull away, however, and with 8:26 on the clock Barrett Murphy sank a pair of free throws that tied things up again, this time at 51-all.
Two minutes later senior David Bender (The Woodlands, Texas) converted a three-point play to put MIT back on top, 57-55, but Gibson answered with a trey and a layup to put Bridgewater State back in the lead at 60-57. The Bears stretched their advantage to five at 66-61 on a dunk from Michael Lofton, with Lofton later converting a pair of free throws that kept the lead at five with 37 seconds left in regulation.
Frankel scored four points in nine seconds to cut the lead down to a pair at 69-67, but Gibson answered with a pair of free throws to push it back to a four-point lead for Bridgewater State. With 11 ticks left Butala sank the first of his treys to cut it to a point, but MIT was forced to foul and Lofton sank both of his attempts with nine seconds left to make it 73-70. Butala then hit his second three in the final seconds to send the contest to overtime.
Frankel added eight assists to his 22 points, while Levene and Butala both finished with 20 points for MIT. Johnson came off the bench to pace the Engineers, who edge the Bears 42-34 on the boards, with 11 rebounds. Gibson, who shot 9-of-12 from the field, led all scorers with 26 points. Lofton, who hit 11-of-14 from the free throw line, finished with 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Bears. Bridgewater State held a significant edge on the free throw line, making 26-of-35 attempts, outscoring MIT by 20 points from the stripe.
Both teams will be off until after the Holidays, with MIT getting back into action with its first New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) game on Wednesday, January 7 at 7:00 p.m. at Clark University. Bridgewater State will play next in the NYU Holiday Classic, taking on Manhattanville College on January 2 at 4:00 p.m. at NYU.