MIT Weathers Slow Start; Holds Off Coast Guard, 75-72

Jan. 14, 2009

Box Score

NEW LONDON, Conn. – Senior Jimmy Bartolotta iced MIT’s first-ever 3-0 start to NEWMAC play with four free-throws in the final 30 seconds as the Engineers held off a late rally by Coast Guard to win its second league date on the road, 75-72. The Engineers trailed 9-0 six minutes into the action, but rallied to equal their entire conference win total of last year.

MIT (11-4, 3-0) senior Billy Johnson led all scorers with 25 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three-point range. The deep ball plagued Coast Guard (7-7, 0-3) all evening as the Engineers finished a blistering 13-of-23 from beyond the arc as a team.

Bartolotta added 24 points for the Cardinal and Gray on 5-of-10 shooting. He scored 18 of his points in the second half, while doing most of his damage at the free-throw line where he closed 11-of-13. Bartolotta added a game and season-high 12 rebounds for the monster double-double.

The Bears were paced by senior Craig Johnson, who scored 14 of his team-high 23 points in the second half. Coast Guard, and specifically Johnson, took advantage of a small MIT lineup as Billy Johnson fouled out with less than five minutes remaining in regulation. Trailing 70-60, the Bears scored nine straight points and pulled within one following Brett Huntley’s jumper with 1:12 on the clock. Although Johnson converted an uncontested lay-up with three seconds to go, Bartolotta’s proficiency at the charity stripe ensured MIT’s first four-game winning streak in three years.

Freshman Jamie Karraker scored in double figures for the fifth time in six games as he knocked down 4-of-8 from three-point range en route to 14 points. Eric Zuk drilled 2-of-3 from deep in finishing with seven points, while the Engineers maintained their lethal accuracy from the floor. MIT shot 59.1% from three-point land against Coast Guard and raised its season percentage to an astounding 42.6%.

A three off the hand of Zuk at 14:25 of the first half snapped a 9-0 run for Coast Guard to open the game, although MIT still trailed by nine with seven minutes left in the frame. Billy Johnson sparked a late rally for the Engineers with eight points in a two-minute stretch. His second three in as many attempts gave MIT a 34-32 lead with 1:35 left. Craig Johnson scored four consecutive points to provide the Bears with a two-point lead at the break.