- Records: No. 25 MIT (21-5); Babson (15-11)
- Score: No. 25 MIT 70, Babson 61
- Location: Springfield, Mass. (James Naismith Court at Blake Arena)
- The Lead: Led by a 23-point, 11-assist double-double from junior AJ Jurko (Weston, Fla.), the No. 3 seeded MIT men's basketball team advanced to the NEWMAC Championship Game with a 70-61 win over No. 2 seeded Babson College on Saturday afternoon. MIT will now take on WPI for the league title on Sunday afternoon after the Engineers upset top-seeded Springfield College in overtime in the first semifinal.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Babson's Bradley Jacks scored the first seven points of the game for the Beavers as Babson took a 7-5 edge over the first 4:23 of play. Jurko had five of MIT's first eight points, including a go-ahead three as the teams were nearly even for the first six minutes. The Beavers used a quick 5-0 spurt to lead 23-15 with 8:42 left in the half before MIT countered with a trio of threes from freshman Ian Hinkley (Raleigh N.C.) and junior Cameron Korb (Los Gatos, Calif.) to take the 24-23 lead.
- MIT continued to lead at 26-25 before an 8-0 run that included a step-back three by Brandon Johnson put Babson back up by eight at 34-26 with 1:45 remaining. The Engineers eventually trailed by a 36-30 margin at the halftime break as the team shot 41.7 percent overall for the half.
- Early in the second, two quick layups from Jacks and Johnson extended the Beaver lead into double digits for the first time before MIT answered with an 8-0 run over 2:34 to pull within 40-38. Jurko nailed a deep three from the top of the key to keep the offense going, followed by a putback tip-in from junior Tim Roberts (Oak Bluffs, Mass.) to give MIT the lead again at 43-42.
- Babson regained the lead with 8:25 remaining on a three from the top of the key by Nick Comenale, but that was short-lived as Jurko put the Engineers back up on a fastbreak layup.
- The game was tied for the final time at 59-59 with just 3:18 left following a three-point play from Babson's Julian Alexis. Roberts gave MIT the lead for good on a layup with 3:08 on the clock off an assist from Jurko, followed by back-to-back Jurko baskets to make it a two-possession margin.
- Jacks scored with 1:36 left to pull Babson within four, but a Hinkley three from in front of the MIT bench at the 1:07 mark sealed the game for the Engineers. Korb dropped in two free throws to account for the final margin as the Engineers defeated the Beavers in the NEWMAC Tournament for the second straight season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Jurko paced four Engineers in double figures with 23 points on 10-for-19 shooting, while Roberts nearly had a double-double 15 points and nine rebounds. Hinkley added 11 points on 3-for-6 shooting from three, along with 10 points and seven boards by Korb.
- Jacks led Babson with 21 points on 10-for-13 shooting from the field, along with 17 points, four assists and three steals by Johnson. Comenale was just 2-for-7 from three on the game, but finished with 10 points and a team-high three blocks.
- For the game, MIT shot 54 percent overall that included 65.4 percent shooting in the second period. The Engineers held Babson to 39.3 percent shooting in the second half to complete the rally.
- The Engineers are ranked No. 25 in the latest national poll and are also ranked No. 9 in the latest NCAA Northeast Regional Rankings which were released earlier this week.
- MIT advances to its third straight NEWMAC Championship Game and its eighth overall as the Engineers will take on fourth-seeded WPI in a 1 p.m. start on Sunday, February 25th. In its previous championship game appearances, MIT is 5-2 overall and 1-1 vs. WPI.