Men’s Basketball Turned Away by Nationally-Ranked MIT in NEWMAC Opener

Logan O'Donnell

Cambridge, MA --- Seniors AJ Jurko (Weston, FL) and Bradley Jomard (Paris, France) combined to score 49 points as host MIT defeated WPI, 74-44, on the opening night of NEWMAC men's basketball action Wednesday night at Rockwell Cage.

With the win, MIT, who is ranked seventh in the most recent (Dec. 16) Top 25, improves to 11-1 on the year while the visiting Engineers, who are receiving votes in the same poll, dip to 9-3.

WPI staked a 10-2 advantage nearly four minutes behind an 8-0 run that featured 3-pointers by sophomores Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) and Ethan Harrell (Wexford, PA), as well as a layup by classmate Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT). MIT then used a 10-0 spurt to take the lead following a layup by junior Nacho Nwana (White Plains, NY) with 12:59 left in the half. A dunk by sophomore Reid Walker (Lithia, FL) evened the game at 14-14; however, Jomard and Jurko combined for an 11-0 outburst. Harrell and McNamara were able to cut the margin to six before MIT built up a 15-point lead with 2:13 to play. Sophomore Jake Needleman (Morganville, NJ) and Downing sandwiched a bucket by senior Tim Roberts (Oak Bluffs, MA) with 3-pointers for the 11-point difference at the half.

Roberts later bookended a 13-2 run to give the host Engineers a 53-29 advantage with 13:24 left in the game. WPI was able to get back within 21 twice, including following a triple by freshman Jackson Ryan (Darien, CT), but MIT went up by as much as 31 with just under two minutes left.

Walker totaled a team-best 10 points, followed by Harrell with eight. Downing and McNamara, meanwhile, finished with seven apiece. Freshman Logan O'Donnell (Fishkill, NY) registered a team-best six rebounds on the night.

Jurko was a pair of assists shy of a double-double while Roberts narrowly missed one of his own with 12 points and a game-best nine rebounds. As a team, MIT accumulated 20 steals to tie the program record set back on November 23, 1991 versus Norwich. MIT also accomplished the feat again nearly two months later versus Nichols (1/18/92).

Both teams are on the road Saturday as WPI heads to Babson for a 2pm start and MIT travels to Coast Guard for a 3pm tip.