CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT broke open a close game late in the first half and never looked back as the Engineers took a 74-54 win over Springfield College to remain undefeated in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball play. MIT, which held the Pride to 38 percent shooting, was led by sophomore Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) with a career-high 21 points off the bench. Springfield was led by senior Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) with 14 points.
Neither team could make a move on the other in the opening minutes, with a three-pointer by freshman Brandon Eckles (East Greenwich, R.I.) knotting the game at 7-7 for Springfield (9-6, 1-3 NEWMAC) seven minutes in. MIT (11-3, 4-0 NEWMAC) went back on top on its next possession on a layup from senior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) and then held onto a slim lead for the next five minutes.
Springfield pulled back to within a point at 15-14 when junior Larry Piretra (Oakland, N.J.) nailed a trey at the 7:34 mark. Acker followed with a put back of an MIT miss and then stole the ball, leading to a layup by senior Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.). That was the start of an 11-0 run by the Engineers that saw them take a 26-14 advantage when Frankel finished off the run by converting a three-point play.
Springfield got the MIT lead back into single figures in the final seconds of the half on a Sienkiewicz jumper, but senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) nailed a three-pointer with five ticks left to put the Engineers on top 32-20 at the half.
A three from junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) had MIT up by 15 early in the second half, but the Engineers missed on their next six shots from the field. That gave Springfield an opening, and the Pride took advantage and put together a 10-0 run to get back into it. Eight points of the run came from the free throw line, including four points from Sienkiewicz, and when Eckles hit a pair from the line at the 15:15 mark the Pride was within five at 37-32.
Pedley broke the scoring drought for MIT with a trey before Butala and Pedley drained two more triples that enabled the Engineers to answer the Springfield run with a 12-0 run of their own. It ended midway through the half with a Frankel free throw that had MIT on top, 49-32.
Springfield narrowed the gap to 11 points three times the rest of the way but could get no closer. A layup from senior Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.) had the Pride within 11 at 60-49 with 4:20 left, but Butala hit two more threes inside of a minute and the Engineers went on to close out the contest on an 11-3 run.
Sienkiewicz was the only Springfield player to reach double figures in scoring, with Piretra leading the Pride with five rebounds. Frankel finished with 14 points and five assists for MIT, with Pedley adding 13 points. Senior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) added 10 points and led all players with eight rebounds for the Engineers.
MIT will return to the court on Wednesday night, hosting Babson College at 8:00 p.m. in Rockwell Cage. Springfield will also play next Wednesday, hosting Coast Guard at 7:00 p.m.