Feb. 24, 2007
WORCESTER, Mass. - Nationally-ranked No. 13 WPI (22-2) defended its court and top seed in Saturday's first NEWMAC Semifinal, putting an end to MIT's season, 66-49. Tech played well in the second half, but Worcester's Engineers built a lead early in the tilt that proved too difficult to overcome. With the loss, MIT closes 14-13 overall, securing its fifth winning campaign in six years.
MIT jumped in front very early, leading 6-5 four minutes into the action. Over the next six minutes, WPI's defense kept MIT off the board while racing ahead behind a 17-2 run. Jerome Kirkland and Antoine Coleman each contributed a pair of baskets during the stretch, although WPI showcased incredible balance all afternoon.
MIT exhausted nearly all of its timeouts in the first as the coaching staff worked hard to keep the Cardinal and Gray competing, despite falling behind 22-8 while a raucous crowd capitalized on the momentum. Senior Alex Krull connected on an important three to snap the run, but WPI maintained the pressure en route to a 30-16 halftime lead.
WPI continued to rotate fresh bodies in the early part of the second half, while stretching its advantage to as many as 25. Kirkland provided most of the offense during a key 14-4 run to start the half, figuring on four field goals in the spurt.
Sophomore Jimmy Bartolotta was outstanding in his final game the season, but his efforts were negated by WPI's sizable depth at every position. He finished with a game-high 22 points and a game-best 15 rebounds, while adding three steals and an assist.
MIT's staff also had to be encouraged by the play of rookie Patrick Sissman. Clearly in unfamiliar territory against one of the nation's top teams, Sissman converted 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and finished with 10 points and four assists.