No. 15 WPI Squeezes Past MIT, 60-58
Jan. 11, 2006
WORCESTER, Mass. - Sophomore Antoine Coleman scored a career-high 30 points, including five three-point field goals to lead No. 15 WPI to a 60-58 victory over MIT on Tuesday night. The loss was MIT's first in conference play and set up a four-way tie for first place in the NEWMAC standings.
Freshman Billy Johnson nailed a three in a perfectly designed start for MIT (9-3, 2-1), but despite the quick beginning, neither team could gain an advantage due to relentless defensive pressure. Points were difficult in the early part of the game, which set the stage for a tight contest. Senior Danny Kanamori provided just the third field goal of the game when he gave MIT a 6-3 lead at the 14:50 mark of the first half.
Tech's hardwood unit distributed the ball effectively, getting baskets from seven different players in the first 15 minutes, while WPI (11-1, 2-1) relied mostly on the hot play of Coleman to pace its scoring attack. He scored 16 points in the first half, including the home team's final five markers as WPI built a 27-21 lead.
Tech turned up its offense in the second half after finishing the first frame shooting 29.6% from the floor. MIT clawed back into the game behind a dangerous three-point attack as Johnson, Jimmy Bartolotta, Kanamori and Krull all connected from deep in the first five minutes of the period. Kanamori's triple gave MIT a 30-29 lead with 17:54 left in regulation, but Coleman answered with a three of his own at 17:01 to put the lead back in WPI's favor for the rest of the night.
Ryan Cain scored four consecutive points from the free-throw line as WPI built up its largest lead of the half at 44-39 with 9:49 to go. Mike D'Auria answered with a three to slice the lead to two before Coleman responded again with a three that pushed the advantage back to five. Another jumper by Coleman put WPI ahead 54-48 with 4:21 left in the second half, but jumpers by Kanamori and Krull reduced the deficit to a field goal. After Cain sank a pair of free throws, Bartolotta canned another three to bring Tech within one (56-55) as 3:00 flashed on the game clock. Despite the effort, Coleman continued to prove unstoppable and scored four straight points to seal the win for WPI.
D'Auria scored 14 points while adding five assists to lead MIT. Bartolotta closed with 11 points and a career-best eight rebounds. Krull also secured a career-best eight boards and added nine points on 4-of-6 shooting. MIT rebounded to shoot 44.8% in the second half and outscored WPI, 37-33 in the period.
Coleman was 11-of-17 from the floor en route to the dominating performance, although he also added a game-high three blocks and a team-best six rebounds. Ryan Cain finished with 13 points to closed as the only other player in double-figures, but the reigning NEWMAC Player of the Year was held to just two field goals.