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MIT’s Three-Pointers Take Down Men’s Basketball, 89-64

Springfield, Mass. — January 17, 2009 — Jimmy Bartolotta, the reigning NEWMAC Player of the Year, led his MIT men’s basketball team to an 89-64 victory over Springfield College by scoring 33 points this evening in a New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference contest at Springfield’s Blake Arena. With the loss, Springfield falls below the .500 mark for the first time this season, and is now 0-3 in league play.

MIT, meanwhile, is now 12-4 overall, and is 4-0 in the NEWMAC, the first time it has ever begun conference play with a 4-0 record. The Engineers have won five in a row overall.

MIT led by 20 at the half (55-35), when this game was really decided. Bartolotta scored 24 points in that first stanza, playing all 20 minutes. In that half alone, MIT shot .593 from the floor (16-of-27), and even better from 3-point range, a sizzling .643 (9-of-14). Bartolotta was 4-of-6 himself from behind the arc, while freshman guard Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, W.Va.) was 3-of-4, and 6-8 senior forward Billy Johnson (Everett, Wash.) was 2-of-3. Bartolotta, a 6-4 senior from Littleton, Colo., was 8-of-11 from the floor, and 4-of-5 from the three throw line in that half.

Springfield hung with MIT for the first 11 minutes or so. When junior guard Ryan Blackmon (Stamford, Conn.) made a 3-pointer with 16:41 left, the Pride led 10-9. But a 3-pointer by Bartolotta with 15:37 left gave the Engineers the lead for good at 12-10. Freshman forward Evan Christner (Voorheesville, N.Y.) provided a spark midway through that first half for the Pride. His lay-up with exactly nine minutes left cut MIT’s lead to 24-20. But from that point on, MIT outscored Springfield, 31-15, for the remainder of that first period.

After all was said and done, Bartolotta scored 33 points, adding 4 rebounds and 2 assists for the game. He was 10-for-14 from the floor, 5-of-7 from 3-point range, and 8-of-9 from the charity stripe — all in just 27 minutes (only 7 minutes in the second half). Johnson scored 22 points, and added 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Karraker was the third double-figure scorer for MIT with 13 points. Freshman guard Billy Bender (Woodlands, Tex.) scored 8 points, and added 3 assists and 3 steals.

As a team, MIT made 13 of 24 three-point attempts for the game, good for an outstanding .542 percentage.

For Springfield, Blackmon led with 16 points, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range and 5-of-5 from the line. Senior center John Strawson (Torrington, Conn.) had 14 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 assists. Christner finished with 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists.

The closest Springfield got it in the second half was within 15 points on two occasions, the last with 5:08 remaining (77-62) on a 3-pointer by Strawson. But MIT ended on a 12-2 run to finish it off.

Springfield will next host Coast Guard at 5:30 pm on Wednesday, January 21.