CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Meeting for the first time as members of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC), the MIT and Emerson College men's basketball teams played a close on this afternoon in the Rockwell Cage. In a contest that saw neither team hold more than a seven-point advantage, the Engineers held off the Lions by a final of 71-66. Junior Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) led MIT (12-4, 4-2 NEWMAC) with 23 points and completed a double-double with 10 rebounds. Emerson (10-7, 3-3 NEWMAC) was led by 24 points from sophomore Michael Thorpe (Newton, Mass.).
Over the first 11 minutes of the game the lead changed hands eight times, with neither squad able to get ahead by more than three points. With 11:30 left in the half sophomore Kyle Edwards (Potomac, Md.) hit a pair of free throws that gave Emerson a 17-16 lead. Redfield answered on the other end with a layup that started an 8-0 run by MIT that put the Engineers ahead 24-17 after a lay in by freshman Dakota Pierce (Thousand Oaks, Calif.).
Emerson came back to pull within one at 24-23 after a jumper by sophomore Brian Hurley (South Boston, Mass.), but a Redfield jumper and a three from sophomore Ryan Frankel (New York, N.Y.) had MIT back on top by six with 6:36 left. Emerson could not get closer than three the rest of the half and Frankel drained another trey with 1:15 to play as the Engineers went on to claim a 41-37 advantage at the half.
MIT pushed its advantage out to seven points early in the second half on a jump shot by junior Andrew Acker (Merion Station, Pa.). The Engineers defense, which held Emerson to 38 percent shooting in the second half, did not let the Lions get any closer that four points in the first 10 minutes with MIT still holding a seven-point edge at 54-47 at the midway mark after a jumper by Redfield.
Emerson scored the next five points to make it a two-point game, as Thorpe and Hurley hit back-to-back shots for the Lions. Junior Dennis Levene (Weston, Conn.) responded for MIT, scoring on consecutive trips down the floor to push the Engineer's lead back out to six at 58-52 with 7:36 to go.
Over the next minute Thorpe twice brought Emerson within four, but Redfield answered each time on the other end to enable MIT to hold off any charge by the Lions. With 2:55 left a bucket by Pierce had MIT back up by seven at 66-59, but consecutive baskets by Hurley made it 66-63 with 37 seconds left.
Sophomore Justin Pedley (Kennewick, Wash.), who had been held scoreless, then stepped to the free throw line and drained a pair with 20 seconds left to make it a two-possession game. Thorpe hit a three with five ticks left, but Pedley dropped another pair in from the line with two seconds left to ice the victory.
Frankel hit all three of his three-point attempts and finished with a career-high 18 points for MIT. Acker also notched a double-double for the Engineers, finishing with 15 points and 14 boards. Hurley reached the 20-point mark for the Lions as well, throwing in 20 while senior Jon Goldberg (Stowe, Vt.) added 14 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
MIT will step out of NEWMAC play in its next game, playing at Emmanuel College on Tuesday night at 7:00 p.m. Emerson will play again on Wednesday when it travels to Springfield College for a 5:30 p.m. matchup.