Feb. 9, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior Craig Johnson scored a game-high 22 points and added 10 rebounds to lead Coast Guard to a 58-52 victory over MIT at Rockwell Cage on Saturday. The Engineers were without the services of the two leading playmakers in the NEWMAC and struggled to their worst shooting performance of the season as the Bears swept the regular-season series for the first time since 2000-01.
MIT (12-10, 3-6) scored just eight points through the first half of the opening period while shooting 2-of-13 from the floor. Playing without Bradley Gampel and Jimmy Bartolotta for the second consecutive game resulted in a mismatch against Coast Guard's (13-6, 4-5) experienced-laden squad.
Al Sowers scored the first five points of the game while the Bears slowly expanded their lead throughout the frame. Jevon James put the visitors ahead, 28-15, with 5:48 remaining while Craig Johnson converted a traditional three-point play with 1:49 left to give Coast Guard its biggest lead of the half (36-20).
MIT shifted the momentum in the second half, mostly behind the play of Hamidou Soumare. The junior forward scored 12 of MIT's first 14 points in the final 20 minutes while Tech's defense held the Bears to just four points in the first eight minutes of the period. Despite the push, the Engineers didn't make a serious run until late.
Trailing 52-39 with 5:26 left in regulation, senior Alex Bagley and freshman Daniel McCue fueled a 9-0 run over the next four minutes as MIT reduced Coast Guard's lead to 52-48. Craig Johnson coverted a key lay-up on the other end to expand the advantage back to six while Grant Johnson sealed the victory at the free-throw line.
After a quiet opening period, Soumare finished with 14 points and a game-best 17 rebounds en route to his sixth double-double of the season and his fourth outing with at least 15 boards. McCue also reached double figures, following up Wednesday's career effort with 13 points. MIT had seven field goals in the first half by seven different players although the Engineers finished the afternoon 17-of-49 (34%) from the field.
Sowers scored 13 points, dished out four assists and made three steals to help propel the Bears. Coast Guard shot 54% from the floor in the first half but finished the game 19-of-47 (40%) including 1-of-8 from three-point range in the second half.
There were no lead changes or ties in Saturday's game as Coast Guard went the distance in front. Despite the loss, MIT out-rebounded the Bears, 35-33, and had a 9-0 advantage in points off turnovers.