MIT Men’s Basketball Defeats Emmanuel, Curry, and Suffolk

Following a win at the Emmanuel College Tip-Off Tournament Consolation Game last Sunday, MIT men’s basketball netted two more victories against Curry College and Suffolk University last week. The team can be seen next tonight at 7 p.m. in a home game against Gordon College.

Tech holds off Emmanuel, 76-70

Guard James M. “Jimmy” Bartolotta netted 31 points to lead MIT (1-1) to a 76-70 win over host Emmanuel College (0-2) in the Emmanuel College Tip-Off Tournament Consolation Game on Nov. 18. Bartolotta was named to the all-tournament team.

Tech had lost to Western Connecticut, 83-77, the day before in the opening round of the Tip-Off Tournament.

Bartolotta finished 11-of-18 from the floor and hauled in six rebounds for the Engineers, while adding three assists, a block and a steal. Forward Hamidou Soumare ’08 posted his second consecutive double-double to open the season with 16 points and 14 boards, and point guard Bradley H. Gampel ’09 chipped in with eight points and a career-high eight rebounds, while dishing out a game-best five assists in just 26 minutes of play.

MIT led by 14 points at the break as the Saints had few answers for Soumare’s ability to create space in the post. Adding three blocked shots to his season totals during the first 20 minutes of play, Soumare finished with a game-high 13 free throw attempts.

Emmanuel’s defense committed 30 fouls for the game and sent the Engineers to the line 40 times. MIT, which was one of the top teams in the nation last year in free-throw percentage, converted 31-of-40 at the charity stripe free. The Engineers also out-rebounded the Saints by a 45-36 margin.

The Saints had the Yawkey Center rocking late in the second half after erasing a 16-point deficit. The Engineers’ command of the game was adversely affected after the Saints were successful in sending Soumare to the bench with foul trouble midway through the frame. Junior forward Mack Spellman sparked Emmanuel’s second-half surge, leading the Saints with 23 points on 9-of-18 shooting and pulling down 12 rebounds. During a four-minute stretch with less than six minutes to play, the Saints connected on five three’s.

Emmanuel outscored the Engineers in the second stanza by a 42-34 margin, shooting 16-of-34 from the field, but MIT manufactured a win with a few key plays on its final two scoring possessions of the game.

Bartolotta provided the first clutch hit with a three-point play in the paint. Gampel followed up with a big effort in the final minute, breaking a 70-70 tie with a jumper from the foul line and closing 6-of-6 at the free-throw line to ice the victory.

Offense lifts off in victory at Curry

In the first meeting between MIT and Curry College in nine years, Bartolotta poured in a career-high 38 points and tied a career-high with eight assists to lead Tech to a 101-77 victory on Nov. 20. The Engineers were happy to accommodate the Colonels’ fast-paced attack which resulted in numerous points in transition as MIT enjoyed its most explosive offensive effort since 2002.

Both teams began the game hot from the floor while Curry (2-1) grabbed an 18-16 lead six minutes into the action behind a three by James Bartelle. Bartolotta responded with five consecutive points to push MIT (2-1) in front for the rest of the night, but it wasn’t until late in the opening half that the Engineers began to find their groove. Paced by a break-out effort by forward Alexander F. Bagley ’08, MIT closed the half with a 15-4 run and took a 45-32 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Curry standout Tim Jones scored the first basket of the second half to slice the MIT lead to 11, but it would be as close as Curry would get as the Engineers exploded for a 20-6 run to put the game out of reach midway through the second half.

“I thought we played really well,” said Gampel. “Our passing was the best it’s been this season and the team played with a lot of composure against a very athletic Curry squad.”

MIT grabbed its largest lead of the evening with just under three minutes left in regulation, moving in front 100-70 as Bartolotta capped an impressive night with a pair of makes at the free-throw line.

Bartolotta finished a staggering 16-of-21 from the field while adding five rebounds and three steals in another well-rounded effort. His 38-point performance marked the highest single-game total for an MIT player since Raymond Nagem ’80 scored 39 during the 1980 season.

Bagley paced MIT’s best output from the bench this season, scoring 13 points and hauling in six boards. Soumare and Willard J. “Billy” Johnson ’09 also reached double figures for the Cardinal and Gray. Soumare scored 11 points but failed to gain a third consecutive double-double as he closed the game with seven rebounds, while Johnson chipped in 10 points for the Engineers’ attack.

MIT cruises past Suffolk, 83-51

Making the necessary adjustments after its first three games of the season, MIT played outstanding perimeter defense and scored 38 points off turnovers as the Engineers opened the home slate with an 83-51 victory over Suffolk University on Saturday. Bartolotta led scorers with 22 points in limited action while Johnson added 21.

Still in search of its first win of the campaign, Suffolk (0-4) began the game strong behind the shooting of Alan Jaziri and actually led by one point six minutes into the game. Despite the good start, MIT (3-1) methodically moved in front and began to take control. The Engineers forced 29 turnovers and set a season-high with 17 steals.

Once again, Bartolotta dictated the pace with a solid all-around game. The junior star cooled off from the field after delivering a scintillating performance against Curry, although he still finished 8-of-15 from the floor and 5-of-6 at the line, while adding a game-best six assists, four rebounds, three steals, and a block. Bartolotta’s first basket of the afternoon also marked his 1,000 career point as he became the 22nd player in program history to achieve the milestone.

“It’s nice to get a win even though we didn’t play particularly well,” Bartolotta said. “There was an opportunity today for everyone on the team to play quality minutes and I do think that our passing continues to get better. We still have to improve in a number of areas, but I’m encouraged by our selflessness and commitment to get better.”

MIT led 42-26 at the break, but broke the game open with a 24-9 run midway through the second half. Johnson served as the top shooter during the tilt, knocking down 7-of-12 from the field while collecting six boards, two assists, two blocks, and two steals. Despite playing only 17 minutes, Soumare finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, three steals, and three blocks while shooting 7-of-9 at the charity stripe. Although he quietly commands the offense, Gampel also enjoyed a strong effort, totaling four points, five assists, and a game-high five steals.

MIT’s bench, which closed with a season-high 36 points, picked up most of its momentum off the solid interior play of Barnett H. Koryan ’08, who scored a career-high seven points on 3-of-3 shooting. Ian J. Sugel ’11 chipped in six, while fellow rookie Michael M. Zieve ’11 added five.

Suffolk, which was held to 30 percent shooting for the game including 1-of-18 from three-point range, was led by Jaziri, who finished with 15 points.