Jan. 10, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The senior tandem of Jimmy Bartolotta and Billy Johnson combined for 59 points in MIT’s 69-56 victory over Babson College in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men’s basketball game on Saturday. Bartolotta led the way with 33 points on 12-of-17 shooting from the floor, including a 5-of-8 performance from behind the arc. Johnson totaled 26 points, 24 of which coming in the second half, on a 10-of-12 outing at the free-throw line and a 7-of-11 total from the field. Shelton Ladson paced the Beavers’ (8-5, 0-2 NEWMAC) balanced attack with 11 points.
The Engineers (9-4, 2-0 NEWMAC) quickly established a 7-2 edge to open the game. Babson countered with an 8-3 spurt, capped by a basket by Zach Etten to even the contest at 10 at the 12:59 mark. MIT inched out to a six-point edge on a pair of occasions, the last at 24-18 with 8:19 on the clock. Babson went on to tally seven unanswered points, eventually taking its first lead of the game on a pair of free throws by Matt Zoia with 3:55 left. A Bartolotta layup ended the Engineers’ scoring drought almost a minute later, resulting in a 26-25 edge. Two lead changes and a tie ensued before the Cardinal and Gray entered the break with a 30-29 margin.
MIT increased its lead to four, courtesy of a trio of free throws by Johnson during the opening minute of the half. Etten quickly erased the deficit with a basket and a pair of free throws while Pat Belniak drained a layup to put the Beavers ahead, 35-33, at 17:25. On the Engineers’ ensuing possession, Johnson’s layup ignited 14-3 run that spanned nearly six minutes. Babson battled back, narrowing its deficit to five (49-44) on a three-point play by Eric White midway through the frame. This was as close as the visitors would get as MIT mounted an 11-3 run during the next five minutes for a comfortable 13-point (60-47) cushion. The Beavers came within 10 (64-54) on a three-pointer by Jake Gruber, but the Engineers thwarted any hopes of a late rally.
In addition to his game-high scoring effort, Bartolotta added three steals and two blocks while Johnson notched seven rebounds and three steals. Bradley Gampel dished out six assists as Billy Bender contributed six boards and four assists coming off the bench.
Etten finished with nine points and five rebounds for Babson while Belniak and Zoia each added eight points. Kris Noonan led the way with seven boards as Marcus Edwards grabbed three steals.
Both teams will continue action on Monday, Jan. 12. MIT will host Newbury College while Babson will travel to Amherst College.