Nov. 29, 2008
BOSTON, Mass. – Three Tech players scored career high’s and MIT shot a staggering 68% from beyond the arc as the Engineers cruised past Suffolk, 99-56, on Saturday.
Senior Jimmy Bartolotta followed up Tuesday’s record-breaking performance by leading all scorers with 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting including 6-of-7 from three-point range. The total resulted in the 12th 30-point game of Bartolotta’s career while he has scored at least a dozen in 35 consecutive starts dating back to his sophomore season.
The Engineers (4-2) received a tremendous boost from sophomore Eric Zuk and senior Billy Johnson, who each authored career-high efforts. Zuk closed 8-of-12 from the field including 5-of-6 from distance to finish with 27 points. Johnson was 7-of-14 from the floor, but did most of his damage at the free-throw line where he finished 12-of-16 en route to 28 points.
MIT endured a familiar pattern as Suffolk (0-4) raced out to a 12-6 lead five minutes into the tilt. Mike Fleming, who led the Rams with 17 points, capped a strong start with a three from the wing to provide the home team with their biggest lead of the day.
Bartolotta scored seven straight points to ignite the Engineers’ comeback while Johnson controlled the paint and the glass. Slowly expanding its advantage throughout the first half, Bartolotta’s jumper with 45 seconds left gave MIT a 43-30 lead. Fleming answered with a jumper in the waning seconds as the Engineers went to the locker room ahead, 43-32.
Although Suffolk shot 54% from the floor in the first half, a suffocating defensive stand by the Engineers resulted in a 26% shooting performance for the Rams in the second half. MIT on the other hand, was spectacular as it shot 66% from the floor and 77% from three-point range on 10-of-13 shooting.
Tech’s precision attack doubled its lead in the first five minutes of the second frame as the Engineers opened with a 20-4 run. A three by Bartolotta increased MIT’s cushion to 30 points with 11 minutes left on the clock while Zuk’s last triple of the afternoon stretched the advantage to 92-52 with 4:31 to go.
“We’re not where we need to be, but we’re improving” MIT head coach Larry Anderson said. “The second half today was the best half of play we’ve had all season, both in terms of energy and execution.”
A predominantly rookie lineup finished out the game for the Cardinal and Gray. Freshman Billy Bender was solid in 17 minutes of work as he finished 3-of-3 from the field for seven points while adding five rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Sophomore Travis Tucker turned in another fine defensive effort with six boards and two steals while adding five points.