WORCESTER – Senior Tim Roberts (Oak Bluffs, MA) notched a double-double of 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead nationally-ranked MIT to an 84-81 victory over WPI on the final day of the NEWMAC men's basketball regular season Saturday afternoon in Harrington Auditorium. Sophomore Colin McNamara (Arlington, MA) scored a career-high 27 to go with five assists for the host Engineers.
Cambridge's Engineers (22-3, 12-2 NEWMAC), who are eighth in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25 and second in the NCAA regional rankings, clinches the conference's regular season crown and top seed in the upcoming tournament. WPI (17-8, 8-6) heads to Babson for a NEWMAC first round game. The winner of that game heads to MIT on Thursday. More details below.
WPI staked an early 6-2 lead. MIT then evened it with a pair of free throws and a layup by Roberts. Sophomore Reid Walker (Lithia, FL) answered and bookended a 9-0 run with a layup and two free throws. Senior AJ Jurko (Weston, FL) ended the hosts spurt with a layup at 13:27. Later in the half, Jurko put the visiting Engineers up by one twice; however, a 3-pointer by sophomore Dakota Wheeler (Easthampton, MA) in the waning moments gave the Crimson and Gray the one-point advantage prior to the intermission.
The second half featured three lead changes and a trio of ties. After MIT claimed an 11-point lead, its largest margin of the game at 15:17, Sophomore Jake Needleman (Morganville, NJ) kicked off a 12-0 run with three free throws. McNamara capped the outburst with a jumper and a layup to tilt the scoreboard in the hosts favor with 11:54 to play.
McNamara then went to the line and knotted the game at 58 with 7:53 remaining. It was nip-and-tuck the rest of the way and the host Engineers had a chance at a three to send the game into overtime but it was off the mark.
Walker and sophomore Garrett Stephenson (Townsend, MA) each posted 11 points and eight rebounds while Wheeler and sophomore Kahleb Downing (Middletown, CT) each added eight points on the afternoon. Downing also shared game-high honors with three steals.
Roberts shot 10-14 from the field and 5-6 from the line and chipped in with three swipes. Sophomore Hamilton Forsythe (Weston, CT) recorded 18 points to go with 16 apiece by Jurko and senior Bradley Jomard (Paris, France). Jurko's 16 were all netted in the first half while six of Jomard's eight helpers occurred in the second.
Quarterfinal - Tuesday, February 19th (at highest seed)
No. 5 WPI at No. 4 Babson – 7:00 p.m.
Semifinals - Thursday, February 21st (at highest remaining seeds)
Winner No. 4/Winner No. 5 at No. 1 MIT – 7:00 p.m.
No. 3 Springfield at. No. 2 Emerson – 7:00 p.m.
Final - Saturday, February 23rd (at highest remaining seed)
Semifinal Winners – 1:00 p.m.