Nov. 25, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Jimmy Bartolotta connected on eight of his first nine three-point field goal attempts, scored 31 in the first half, and finished with an Institute-record 43 points in leading MIT to a 90-63 win over Curry College in Rockwell Cage on Tuesday night.
There was plenty of action in Tuesday’s non-conference tilt as Curry (0-4) placed four players in double-figures, led by super freshman Daniel Singh’s 19. MIT (3-2) received 17 from Billy Johnson, and a great defensive performance from the bench. The Engineers also picked up the intensity on defense with 15 steals and five blocks. Despite all the sub-plots, none of it seemed to matter as Bartolotta scorched the nets in front of an amazed home crowd.
The Colonels delivered a great start to the game, taking advantage of consecutive turnovers to build a 6-0 lead two minutes into the action. Singh, who was the best interior player on the floor, added back-to-back jumpers in the paint to increase the advantage to 10-3.
The Engineers weathered the shaky start by answering with four straight three’s. Rookie Jamie Karraker sparked the run, while Bartolotta followed with three consecutive field goals from beyond the arc. Although Curry was able to respond with baskets at the other end of the floor, Bartolotta continued shooting from long distance coming off curls, flare screens and pull-ups.
MIT led 33-18 with just over seven minutes left in the first half and never allowed the Colonels to get any closer. Sophomore Travis Tucker, who enjoyed a sensational game on the defensive end, capped the first-half fireworks with a beautiful pass to Hamidou Soumare under the basket, which Soumare promptly jammed home as the Cardinal and Gray headed to the locker room ahead, 48-27.
Although Bartolotta remained at center-stage in the second half, he opted to pass to open teammates, who knocked down shots as the lead slowly expanded to 30. The entire team was able to get involved in the second half, with Patrick Sissman dishing out a game-high seven assists and Tucker adding six dimes and five rebounds. Karraker closed with nine while fellow rookie Arni Lehto dropped home five on 2-of-3 shooting in seven minutes of work.
With just under five minutes left in regulation, Bartolotta drew a foul on a hard drive to the basket. After knocking down both free throws, Bartolotta was pulled from the game but not before breaking a 46-year-old record. The 43 points came on 14-of-22 shooting, including 8-of-12 from deep and 7-of-7 at the line. The total eclipsed the previous record of 41 set by Dave Koch ’62 on February 17, 1962 against Middlebury.
“I was happy to see Jimmy get the record, but especially pleased that he accomplished the feat in a winning manner,” noted head coach Larry Anderson. “We received strong play from our bench tonight, but Jimmy, who has been having a good season, really showed his maturity and leadership.”
In addition to the big offensive output, Bartolotta added five assists, five boards, three steals, and two blocks. Soumare also reached double-figures with 12 points on 6-of-8 shooting and a game-high four steals.
Quashed Simmons, who entered the evening averaging 22.3 points per game, was held to four points in the first half. He rallied in the second frame to finish with 15 and a team-best four assists. Mark Mastrullo added 16 points for Curry while Chris Bonadies dropped in 10.