Feb. 7, 2009
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Coast Guard senior Craig Johnson canned a desperation three at the buzzer to send Saturday’s NEWMAC tilt against MIT into overtime. In the extra session, Johnson kept the momentum in the Bears’ favor, and finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds as Coast Guard completed the upset, 67-63.
Coast Guard (9-11, 2-7) trailed for the entire game until a free-throw by Johnson gave the Bears their first lead of the day at 57-56 with 1:49 left in regulation. The lead was quickly lost as five points from Tech senior Jimmy Bartolotta gave the Engineers a 61-58 lead heading into the Bears’ final possession. Taking an in-bounds pass at the top of the arc with 1.3 seconds on the clock, Johnson tossed up a three that splashed home at the buzzer while the largest crowd of the season in Rockwell Cage was left stunned.
Bartolotta scored a lay-up with 4:22 left in overtime to give MIT (16-6, 7-2) a 63-61 lead, but the Engineers were unable to score the rest of the way. Free throws by Eric Hudson and Johnson sealed the win for the Bears after Bartolotta’s game-tying attempt from deep three hit the front of the rim.
The Coast Guard defense forced MIT into its worst shooting performance of the year. The Engineers shot 32% from the floor for the game, including 7-of-28 (25%) from three-point range. The Bears also benefitted from a dominating effort on the glass. Coast Guard out-rebounded MIT, 43-33, and scored 20 second-chance points.
While Johnson enjoyed the game heroics as well as a nice double-double, Jevon James also reached double figures in scoring and rebounding with 11 points and a game-best 16 boards. Trip Fernandes added 12 points off the bench, while Hudson scored 11 and had three assists.
Bartolotta was once again amazing for the Cardinal and Gray. Although he missed on a few easy finishes that could have changed the outcome of the battle, he finished with a game-high 38 points and 10 rebounds. He was 13-of-14 from the charity stripe, but converted only 11 of his career-high 27 field goal attempts. Rookie Jamie Karraker added 13 points for MIT, which lost its first game of the season at home.
MIT opened up a 16-2 lead to start the game and led by nine with 10 minutes to go, but the Bears outscored the Engineers 18-9 down the stretch.
Saturday marked Alumni Day for the MIT men’s basketball program. During halftime the 1961-62 team, which holds the Institute record with 15 consecutive wins, was honored.