Dec. 6, 2008
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Jimmy Bartolotta scored 31 points en route to the top spot on the Institute’s all-time career scoring list and MIT rallied from a four-point halftime deficit to defeat Tufts University, 79-66, on Saturday in Rockwell Cage.
Bartolotta passed Campbell Lange ’76 for the MIT (6-3) all-time scoring title with a three-point field goal that tied the game at 27-27 with 3:20 left in the first half. The jumper resulted in the Engineers’ first 1,700-point scorer as Lange’s record of 1,699 had stood for nearly 32 seasons.
Fellow seniors Billy Johnson and Bradley Gampel also enjoyed strong games. In addition to drawing the defensive assignment against preseason All-America Jon Pierce, Johnson closed with 18 points on 8-of-13 shooting while adding eight rebounds, three steals, and two blocks. Gampel scored a season-high 13 points in the win and delivered a game-best eight assists.
Bartolotta was a model of efficiency on Saturday as he topped 30 for the fourth time in his last five games depite taking only 12 shots (6-of-12). He finished a career-high 17-of-19 from the free-throw line while hauling down a season-high 11 rebounds, and adding three steals and a block.
MIT head coach Larry Anderson, who recently became the program’s all-time winningest coach, was obviously pleased with the team’s effort. “I was proud of the way our seniors played today, and I was glad that Jimmy was able to achieve a personal milestone while helping the team to an important win. The result is a testament to how hard our guys have worked throughout their careers, and I hope that we can use today’s victory to propel us to a strong finish.”
Senior Aaron Gallant led the Jumbos (4-3) with 21 points, and was 3-of-4 from three-point range. Pierce added 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting while adding a game-high 12 rebounds. Gallant and Pierce were the only Tufts players to reach double figures as the rest of the team combined to shoot 9-of-26 from the floor.
A pair of free throws by Bartolotta knotted the score at 32-32 with 1:30 remaining in the first half, although four straight points by Pierce gave Tufts a 36-32 lead at the break.
MIT took the lead for good just three minutes into the second half as Billy Johnson finished his own fast-break dunk following a steal at mid-court. The battle remained a one-possession game until rookie Jamie Karraker knocked down a deep three to give MIT a 55-50 advantage with 10 minutes left on the clock.
Over the next five minutes, the Engineers stretched the lead to double digits as Gampel and Bartolotta picked up points at the foul line. A jumper by Gallant with 2:17 left pulled Tufts within six (71-65), but MIT secured its last eight points at the charity stripe to seal the non-conference win.
Saturday's victory marked the first win for MIT over Tufts since the 1997-98 campaign, a span covering 10 games.