CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A cold shooting second half for the MIT men's basketball team allowed Bridgewater State University to pull away from the Engineers over the final 20 minutes as the Bears took a 61-49 win in Rockwell Cage. The victory was the 300th career win for Bridgewater State head coach Joe Farroba. Junior Michael Lofton (Mansfield, Mass.) led the Bears with 16 points while junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led the Engineers with 13.
Bridgewater State (1-2) ran out to an early 7-2 lead after Lofton hit a jumper a minute and a half in, but MIT (2-1) fought back to tie the game at 12-12 at the 15:17 mark on a trey from sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.). Junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) followed with another three to give the Engineers their first lead of the game.
A layup by Redfield kept the MIT advantage at three with 13:51 to go in the half, but turnovers started to plague the Engineers. Over the next eight minutes MIT committed 10 miscues and Bridgewater State took advantage and outscored the Engineers 15-2. The Bears converted five the turnovers into 13 of the points in the run and took a 29-19 lead after senior Brian Grossman (Duxbury, Mass.) stole the ball and hit a three-pointer with 5:38 to go in the half.
Levene answered Grossman with a jump shot that started a comeback by MIT in the final minutes of the half. Pedley then hit a shot to cut the lead to six and then completed an 11-2 surge by the Engineers with a trey with 33 seconds left to pull MIT back to within one at 31-30. Junior Kyle Gibson (Franklin, Mass.) came back and hit a shot for the Bears with three seconds left to give them a three-point edge at the half.
Turnovers continued to be a problem in the second half for the Engineers who saw Bridgewater State outscore them 12-3 over the first four-plus minutes, with a jumper by senior Brendan Monteiro (Brockton, Mass.) giving the Bears a 45-33 lead.
Bridgewater State then got into foul trouble and the Engineers used free throws to get back into the game. Levene hit a pair to get it back to a 10-point game and MIT went on to outscore Bridgewater State 8-3 over the next seven minutes. Junior Paul Dawson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) scored six points in the stretch, with his free throw at the 8:23 mark making it 48-41. Free throws were about all the offense that MIT could muster in the second half, however, as the Engineers hit just three field goals and shot 17 percent in the half.
With the shots not falling, MIT could not shave any more off the Bridgewater State lead. A pair of free throws by freshman Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) still had the Engineers within seven with 4:38 to play, but the Bears hit just enough free throws down the stretch to hold off MIT and take the victory.
Lofton also led all players with five steals for the Bears, with Gibson adding 13 points and leading his team with five rebounds. Redfield completed a double-double with 12 rebounds, while Levene also notched a double-double with 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. For the game MIT committed 26 turnovers, which Bridgewater State turned into 30 points.
MIT will return to the court on Saturday, November 23 when it plays on the road for the first time this season with a contest at Curry College at 1:00 p.m. Bridgewater State will make its home debut in 2013-14 in its next outing when it takes on Rhode Island College on Tuesday, November 26 at 7:30 p.m.