CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Trailing for most of the game, the MIT men's basketball team outscored Emerson College 14-2 over the last five minutes to pull out a 68-59 victory in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) contest. Senior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led the Engineers in both scoring and rebounding with his double-double of 19 points and 14 boards. Junior Michael Thorpe (Newton, Mass.) led all scorers for the Lions with 20 points.
MIT (17-6, 10-3 NEWMAC) got off to a good start, getting a three from junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) and a Redfield dunk that led to a 7-2 lead over the first five minutes. Emerson (10-13, 4-9 NEWMAC) did not let the Engineers push their advantage any further and came back to take a 10-9 lead on a three from senior Eli Kell Abrams (Berkley, Calif.) at the 12:16 mark.
The teams then combined to miss 11 straight shots, with the two sides coming up with a total of just seven points over a four and a half minute span. Junior Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) tied things up at 13-all with a pair of free throws, but Emerson then scored nine straight, including two treys from junior Tyson Hallowell (Lincoln, Mass.), to take its biggest lead of the night at 22-13.
A jumper by sophomore Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) broke the run for MIT and the Engineers whittled away at the Emerson lead over the final minutes of the half. Thorpe hit on a three for the Lions in the final minute, but senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) answered with a layup for MIT, leaving Emerson with a 25-22 lead at the half.
Over the first six minutes of the second half Emerson held MIT at bay, eventually pushing its lead out to eight points when junior Sean Duffy (Berwyn, Pa.) hit a three-pointer to put the Lions up 38-30. Back-to-back layups from Butala and a three from Pedley had MIT back within one at 38-37, but Emerson edged back ahead 44-39 on a jumper from junior Mike Carbone (North Reading, Mass.) midway through the half.
Two minutes later Redfield connected on back-to-back scores, with his second tying things up at 50-50. The lead then changed hands four times over the next two minutes, with a Thorpe jumper and a pair of free throws by Kell-Abrams putting Emerson on top 57-54 with five minutes to go.
MIT came back with a layup by Frankel and a jumper from Redfield and never trailed again. The Engineers held Emerson to just 1-for-10 shooting the rest of the way, enabling them to finish the contest on their deciding 14-2 run. The Lions were still within four when Thorpe connected on a layup with 29 seconds left, but freshman Samson Donick (Tiburon, Calif.) hit on a pair of free throws that started MIT on a 5-for-6 performance from the free throw line in the final minute that put the finishing touches on the win.
MIT was hot from the field in the second half, shooting 64 percent from the floor and connecting on 4-of-7 three-point attempts. For the game the Engineers out shot their opponent, 44.4 to 34.4 percent and held a 49-31 advantage on the boards. Pedley added 13 points for MIT, while Frankel finished with 12. Butala added 11 points and nine rebounds to the totals for the Engineers. Duffy was the only other player in double figures for Emerson, finishing with 11 points and leading the Lions with seven rebounds.
MIT will close out the regular season with a NEWMAC game at Babson College on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. Emerson will finish its regular season at home on Saturday, hosting Wheaton College at 1:00 p.m.