MIT Pulls Away from Wheaton In Second Half

Senior Andrew Acker
Senior Andrew Acker

NORTON, Mass. – Double-doubles from seniors Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) and Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) helped lead MIT to an 80-53 victory over Wheaton College in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMC) men's basketball game this evening. The Engineers pulled away from the Lyons in the second half when they out scored them by 19 points. All five MIT starters reached double figures in scoring, led by 16 from senior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.).

MIT (13-4, 6-1 NEWMAC) jumped out to an early 7-2 lead after a three from Levene and a pair of Acker free throws. Wheaton (3-14, 0-7 NEWMAC), which missed on its first five field goal attempts, saw the MIT lead grow to 14 points just six and a half minutes in when Levene drained a pair of free throws to make it 18-4. 

A 7-0 run that included a three by junior Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) and a Levene layup pushed the MIT lead to 16 at 25-9 with eight minutes left in the half. Wheaton then scored seven consecutive points, the first five on a layup and a three-pointer by senior Eddie Capstick (Worcester, Mass.), to bring its deficit back to single digits.

With less than four minutes to go, Wheaton picked up consecutive baskets by freshman Liam Bruno (Newton, Mass.) and it provided a spark that enabled the Lyons to end the half on a strong note. Freshman Ryan Fogarty (Walpole, Mass.) scored the next seven points for Wheaton, including a trey, making it six-point game with 38 second remaining. Junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.) connected on a layup to push the lead back to eight, but senior K.J. Pontes (Dorchester, Mass.) tipped in a miss as time expired for Wheaton to make it a 35-29 game at the half.

The two sides battled evenly over the first five minutes of the second half, with Wheaton sitting just five points down at 44-39 when Capstick hit a jumper. With 13:13 showing on the clock, Frankel hit a trey that ignited a 13-0 run by the Engineers in just a three-minute span. Pedley also had a three in the run, with his layup at 9:59 putting the Engineers up, 57-39.

Wheaton could not come up with an answer to the MIT surge, and the Engineers pushed their advantage past the 20-point mark when junior Lampros Tsontzos (Amarousion, Greece) hit a pair of free throws with six minutes left. The Lyons cut the deficit back under 20 points with back-to-back baskets by Capstick and sophomore Zach Parsons (Belchertown, Mass.), but Pedley came back with consecutive buckets of his own, both triples, that started an 11-0 surge that put the game out of reach.

Acker finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for MIT, while Redfield completed his double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds while also blocking seven shots. MIT, which shot 47.3 percent for the game, also picked up 15 points from Pedley and 11 from Frankel, who added eight assists. Capstick led Wheaton with 11 points and shared the team lead in rebounds with sophomore Alex Sugarman (Concord, Mass.) at five. MIT held a commanding 48-33 edge on the boards and blocked a season-high 14 shots from the Lyons, who shot just 31.8 percent in the contest.

MIT will be home for its next game, hosting Clark University on Saturday starting at 2:00 p.m. Wheaton will also play at home on Saturday, hosting Coast Guard at 1:00 p.m.