Springfield Defense Holds Down MIT, 66-38

Freshman Spencer Rust
Freshman Spencer Rust

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – MIT had a tough go of it on offense tonight in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball game, as Springfield College held the Engineers to 35 percent shooting and forced 19 turnovers to take a 66-38 win. The Pride was led by senior Sean Martin (Rindge, N.H.) who scored 19 points, while MIT was paced by 10 points from freshman Spencer Rust (Alamo, Calif.).

MIT (14-5, 7-2 NEWMAC) got out quickly, taking a 5-0 lead a minute in on a three-pointer from junior Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.). It turned out to be the only long-range shot that the Engineers would hit in the half, however, and Springfield (14-6, 6-3 NEWMAC) came back to tie things up at 5-5 on a Martin layup.

MIT still led by one at the 13:50 mark when senior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.) dropped in a layup to make it 9-8, but Springfield answered with six straight points, four from Martin, to take a 14-9 lead. A jumper from sophomore Tim Butala (Monroe, Conn.) had the Engineers back within three at 14-11, but the Pride caught fire and hit six of their next seven shots, including a three from senior Nick Sienkiewicz (Cranston, R.I.) that put Springfield up 28-12 with three and a half minutes left in the half. MIT could not put a dent in the Springfield lead before the buzzer and the Pride took a 34-18 lead into the locker room.

Rust scored four straight points for MIT in a 30 second span early in the second half to help the Engineers cut their deficit to 12 points, with his jumper making it 38-26 at 16:16. MIT's offense could not muster enough to cut the gap closer, as the Engineers went 0-for-6 from the field over the next eight minutes and scored just a pair of points on two free throws from Rust. Springfield took advantage, out scoring MIT 14-2 over the span to grow its lead to 52-28 on a jumper from senior Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.).

Senior Nicholas Prus (Arlington Heights, Ill.) hit a trey to break the shooting drought for MIT, but the Engineers did not have the offense to put together a run to get back into it as the Pride took the game to split the regular season series between the two teams.

Springfield scored 24 points off of the MIT turnovers and held the Engineers to just one three-point basket in each half as it moved to just a game behind the Engineers in the NEWMAC standings. The Pride shot 49 percent and held a 32-24 advantage on the boards. Two other players reached double figures in scoring for Springfield, with senior Josh Altman (Rockport, Mass.) dropping in 14 points and junior Josh Downs (East Sandwich, Mass.) adding 10. Martin had a strong effort for the Pride, adding seven assists and six steals. Rust was the only player reaching double figures for MIT, with Pedley scoring six and senior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) also scoring six and leading the team with seven rebounds and five blocks.

MIT returns home on Saturday, hosting Coast Guard at 2:00 p.m., with Springfield also playing at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday when it hosts Wheaton College.