February 13, 2008

Etten's Hot Hand Lifts Babson Past MIT, 75-62

Feb. 13, 2008

Box Score

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Junior Zach Etten scored a season-high for the second consecutive game and the Beavers' defense kept the Engineers off the board for over six minutes late in the second half, as Babson rallied past MIT, 75-62, on Wednesday night in Rockwell Cage. Etten scored 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting in a scintillating offensive performance including 21 points in the second half.

The game started slowly for both teams, although Babson (8-13, 5-4 NEWMAC) made the first push after a fast-break dunk by Etten put the Beavers ahead, 21-15, with 5:21 left in the first half. MIT's Hamidou Soumare proved to be a difficult match all night in the post and after posting consecutive lay-ups, the Engineers (12-11, 3-7) tied the score at 23 with just under three minutes on the clock. The squads traded baskets down the stretch while senior Will Mroz sent MIT to the locker room with a 29-27 lead after hitting a fade-away jumper at the halftime buzzer.

MIT posted a better field goal percentage in the opening period and enjoyed a commanding edge on the glass, but five of Babson's eight field goals were from three-point range with Kyle McDonald delivering two of those three's to finish with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting in addition to four assists.

Junior Jimmy Bartolotta, who had missed the last two games with multiple injuries and was sporting several bandages, was held scoreless in the first half for the first time since his rookie season and struggled in the early part of the game. Despite the slow start, Bartolotta picked up the Engineers in the second half with 10 straight points on four consecutive field goals as MIT moved ahead of Babson, 46-40, with 12:34 left in the game.

Kyle McDonald scored off dribble penetration to slice MIT's lead to four while Greg Bush scored four straight to tie the game. Etten moved Babson back in front with a three on the Beavers' next trip down although Soumare responded with a lay-in on the other end to set the stage for a terrific finish.

With 9:31 on the clock and MIT ahead, 50-49, Etten hit another three to give Babson a lead it would never relinquish. Six consecutive points by Etten swelled the advantage to 62-50 with 4:34 remaining. During that stretch - in which Etten clearly asserted control for the visitors - MIT had seven turnovers and shot 0-for-1 from the floor. MIT would reduce the lead to eight on several occasions, mostly behind the efforts of Bartolotta who came alive in the second half, but the Beavers pulled away with good free-throw shooting down the stretch.

Etten was 8-of-11 from the floor in the second half en route to the big offensive night while McDonald also reached double figures in scoring with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. McDonald also dished out five assists while Chris Bradley added six points and eight rebounds.

Soumare led MIT with 21 points and 12 rebounds. The junior forward earned his second consecutive double-double while adding two blocks and a steal. Bartolotta closed with 19 points, all in the final 15 minutes, and forced three steals. No other player reached double digits for MIT although Billy Johnson also had a solid all-around game with seven points, six boards and three steals.

Babson outscored MIT, 48-33, in the second half and shot 16-of-25 (64%) from the field. The Beavers scored 34 points off turnovers while four players had two steals.