No. 18 WPI Smothers MIT, 64-43
Jan. 17, 2007
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Twelve players contributed to WPI's offensive attack and its defense was sensational as the defending league champions bested MIT in a rematch of last season's NEWMAC Championship, 64-43. WPI (13-1, 4-0) forced the Engineers into 27 turnovers and its bench outscored MIT (8-8, 2-3), 29-2.
Although the last four games between these teams was decided by four points or less, Wednesday's game was never in doubt as WPI held the Cardinal and Gray to one field goal outside of the paint in the first half while MIT's starting unit weathered early foul trouble. At many points during the game, MIT had only one pre-season starter on the floor.
Capitalizing on its defensive pressure, WPI was able to pull ahead in the first half despite a slow offensive start. MIT trailed 11-8 with 10:49 left in the opening half before WPI orchestrated a 17-4 run, highlighted by three jumpers from Ryan Bourque, who closed with a team-high tying 10 points.
The top two stars in the mid-week conference battle were quiet on the offensive side of the ball, with WPI's Ryan Cain tying Bourque with 10 points. The total snapped a nine-game streak of 20-plus points for the early NEWMAC Player of the Year candidate. Jimmy Bartolotta, MIT's fast-rising star and second in the league to Cane in scoring, was held to five points on 1-of-7 shooting in tying for a career low.
Leading 28-14, WPI opened the second half with a 14-1 run to extend the advantage to a game-high 27 points. Jim Marois and Jerome Kirkland sparked the run with 10 quick points. The Engineers of MIT got hot late in the tilt, but the lead was too much to overcome.
Alex Krull paced the surge with three shots from beyond the arc en route to a game-high 13 points. After reducing the lead to 60-43 with just over a minute left on the clock, the WPI bench added two more jumpers to cap the scoring.
It was a tremendous team win for WPI, which got field goals from 10 different players. Cain and Bourque each reached double figures, while Marois added nine and Kirkland chipped in eight. Marois also led WPI with four rebounds.
Krull was the only MIT player to reach double-digits in scoring, although freshmen Erich Bracht contributed nine points and Patrick Sissman totaled a career-high eight. Although he was kept off the scoresheet, Bartolotta led all players with nine rebounds and added four assists.