Men’s Basketball Has Best Start In Program History after Sat. Win

William E. “Billy” Bender ‘12 had a pair of clutch three-pointers, one at the end of regulation and one in overtime, to help lead the MIT men’s basketball team to a 78-73 win over Gordon College Saturday. Noel Hollingsworth ’12 led the Engineers with 28 points and seven rebounds before fouling out late in regulation. Tech is now 8-0, the best start in program history.

With MIT trailing 68-65 with just 42 seconds remaining, Bender took a pass in the corner from Mitchell H. Kates ’13 and drained the game-tying bucket. After the Fighting Scots were whistled for an offensive foul on the ensuing possession, Willard J. “Billy” Johnson ’09 had a chance to end it in regulation but was unable to knock down another three.

Gordon took the lead early in overtime, and the teams traded turnovers before James R. Burke ’13 and Bender nailed threes to give Tech a four-point lead. Kates made a driving on the next possession to put the game out of reach.

MIT scored the game’s first 10 points, capped by a layup from Kates, in the opening 4:21. Gordon came back and trimmed the lead to three, but the Engineers responded with a 7-0 run to go back up by double digits. The Tech lead would grow to as many as 11 with 5:48 to go in the first, but the Scots were able to battle back to within three at the break.

Gordon’s Benjamin Gaskill converted a layup and the foul shot on opening possession of the second half to even things up at 36. A three by Aaron Trigg with 7:53 remaining gave Gordon its first lead of the game, 56-54. The Scots would score eight of their final 12 from the foul line, including another and-one by Gaskill with 1:18 on the clock, setting up Bender’s heroics.

Kates, with 15 points, Burke (11), and Bender (13) joined Hollingsworth in double figures. Kates also added five assists while Bender had six boards. The Engineers shot 46 percent from behind the arc, as both Bender and Burke went three-for-five.

MIT will be back in action on Tuesday night, traveling to UMass-Boston for a 7:00 p.m. start.