CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A blistering first-half shooting performance by MIT helped power it to a 77-63 victory over Clark University in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball game on Saturday afternoon. The Engineers, who improved to 11-5 on the year and 1-2 in league action, were 14-of-28 from the floor and had a 6-of-8 effort from three-point range in the opening frame. The Cougars, still in search of their first NEWMAC win, saw their ledger dip to 6-10 overall and 0-3 in conference action.
MIT saw three players reach double-digits in scoring, led by 17-point performances from Mitchell Kates and Jamie Karraker. Kates was 5-of-6 from the floor and drained all seven of his free-throw attempts while tallying five assists and four rebounds. Karraker was equally efficient, shooting 6-of-10 on the day and 5-of-8 from three-point range. Will Tashman added a double-double on 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Coming off the bench, Tim Donegan chipped in seven points while Billy Bender contributed six rebounds, five assists, and two steals.
Drew Billington paced Clark with 17 points, shooting 4-of-5 from the floor and 8-of-9 at the charity stripe. He also he notched three assists and three steals. Brian Vayda totaled eight points, six steals, five boards, and four assists as Tucker Esborn registered nine points. Travis Curley and Jake Gubitose bolstered the Cougars' cause with seven points each.
The Engineers opened the game with 10 unanswered points before a layup by Esborn put the visitors on the board at the 15:23 mark. A Tashman three-point play ignited a 25-9 run during the next 10 minutes and increased MIT's advantage to 35-11. Clark responded with 13 straight points, trimming its deficit to 11 with 1:11 left in the half. Billington was responsible for seven points during the spurt. Donegan's layup moments before the buzzer gave the Engineers a 37-24 lead at the break.
MIT maintained its comfortable cushion throughout the majority of the second half, with its margin reaching 18 points on five occasions, the last at 58-40 with 7:14 to go. On Clark's ensuing possession, Billington drained a pair of free throws, sparking a 9-2 run that narrowed the gap to 11 (60-49) just 1:30 later. Kates' three-point play and two Daniel McCue free throws momentarily kept the Cougars at bay. However, Clark continued to attack as Jeff Tager's layup cut MIT's lead to 10 (73-63) with 59.8 seconds remaining in regulation. This was as close as it would get as Kates converted all four attempts during two trips to the free throw line down the stretch.
Both squads continue conference play next week. Clark will host WPI on Tuesday, Jan. 18 while MIT will make the trip to Springfield College the next day.