GAME OF THE WEEK MIT Basketball Crushes Suffolk; Three Players Set Career Highs

Three Tech players scored career highs and MIT shot a staggering 68 percent from beyond the three-point line as the Engineers cruised past Suffolk University, 99-56, on Saturday.

James M. “Jimmy” Bartolotta ’09 followed up his record-breaking performance on Tuesday by leading all scorers with 30 points on 10-of-16 shooting including 6-of-7 from three-point range. The total resulted in the 12th 30-point game of Bartolotta’s career. He has scored at least a dozen in 35 consecutive starts dating back to his sophomore season.

The Engineers received a tremendous boost from Erik S. Zuk ’11 and Willard J. “Billy” Johnson ’09, who each put out career-high efforts. Zuk closed 8-of-12 from the field including 5-of-6 from distance to finish with 27 points. Johnson was 7-of-14 from the floor, but did most of his damage at the free-throw line where he finished 12-of-16 en route to 28 points.

MIT endured a familiar pattern as Suffolk raced out to an early 12-6 lead five minutes into play. Mike Fleming, who led the Rams with 17 points, capped a strong start with a three from the wing to provide the home team with their biggest lead of the day.

Bartolotta scored seven straight points to ignite the Engineers’ comeback while Johnson controlled the paint and the glass. Slowly expanding its advantage throughout the first half, Bartolotta’s jump shot with 45 seconds left gave MIT a 43-30 lead. Fleming answered with his own jumper in the waning seconds as the Engineers went to the locker room ahead, 43-32.

Although Suffolk shot 54 percent from the floor in the first half, a suffocating defensive stand by the Engineers resulted in a 26 percent shooting performance for the Rams in the second half. MIT on the other hand was spectacular as it shot 66 percent from the floor and 77 percent from three-point range on 10-of-13 shooting.

Tech’s precision attack doubled its lead in the first five minutes of the second half as the Engineers opened with a 20-4 run. A three by Bartolotta increased MIT’s cushion to 30 points with 11 minutes left on the clock while Zuk’s last triple of the afternoon stretched the advantage to 92-52 with 4:31 to go.

“We’re not where we need to be, but we’re improving,” MIT head coach Larry Anderson said. “The second half today was the best half of play we’ve had all season, both in terms of energy and execution.”

A predominantly rookie lineup finished out the game for the Engineers. William E. Bender ’12 was solid in 17 minutes of work as he finished 3-of-3 from the field for seven points while adding five rebounds, two blocks and a steal. Travis K. Tucker ’11 turned in another fine defensive effort with six rebounds and two steals while adding five points.