Giant Second-Half Comeback Lifts MIT Past Connecticut College, 79-73
Jan. 3, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior Jimmy Bartolotta scored 26 of his game-high 29 points in the final 25 minutes as MIT erased a 16-point halftime deficit en route to a 79-73 overtime victory over Connecticut College on Thursday in Rockwell Cage. Hamidou Soumare added a career-high 25 points and 11 rebounds in the thrilling non-conference win.
Sophomore Shavar Bernier connected on a three on the first play of the extra session to push Connecticut College (7-2) in front, 65-62, but junior Billy Johnson answered with a triple of his own to negate the Camels' momentum. MIT (7-4) scored the next six points at the free-throw line and kept the visitors at bay the rest of the way.
The Engineers put themselves in position to win after orchestrating a dominating second half paced by Bartolotta's determination and great offensive play in the post by Soumare. Trailing 35-19 at the break, MIT outscored Connecticut College, 43-27, in the second half and, 17-11, in the overtime period.
"We made great adjustments after a really disappointing first half," said associate head coach Oliver Eslinger. "It was encouraging to see our guys bounce back and finish the game hard."
Soumare scored eight of the first 11 points in the second frame to reduce the Camels' commanding lead to single digits while a three by Will Mroz narrowed the advantage to 41-34 with 12:29 left in regulation. Jeff Young drilled back-to-back three's to once again extend the lead, but Bartolotta answered with six straight points to bring the deficit back to seven.
Another shot beyond the arc by Bartolotta sliced the Camels' lead to one (51-50) with five minutes left in the frame, although Connecticut College refused to surrender the advantage. With 2:40 showing on the clock, the Engineers finally grabbed their first lead of the night after Bartolotta sank a pair of free throws. Trailing 58-57 with 2:17 to go, Young drained another three as Connecticut College reclaimed the lead.
The Engineers trailed, 62-58, with one minute left in the game, although Bartolotta sliced the lead to two with a jumper on the left side. On the Camels' ensuing possession, Bartolotta jumped the passing lane and picked off a pass before sinking two more free throws to send the game to overtime.
Bartolotta had only three points in the first half, but finished the heroic effort with another solid stat line as he collected 29 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while adding five assists and five steals. His offensive total enabled the junior wing to tie Adam Gibbons '05 for 13th all-time on the MIT scoring list with 1,212 points.
MIT's thunderous one-two punch negated a well-balanced effort by Connecticut College, which placed all five of its starters in double figures. Young led the way with 16 points and eight boards, while Billy Karis closed with 15. Bernier (13), Christian Mosley (12) and Charles Stone (10) rounded out the Camels' double-digit scorers.