CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – January 19, 2008 -- Despite a 22-point effort from Springfield College's Jamaal Gibbs, the MIT men's basketball team defeated Springfield, 75-58, this afternoon at MIT's Rockwell Cage in a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference contest. Hamidou Soumare poured in a career-high 32 points and fellow junior Jimmy Bartolotta added 22 for the Engineers. MIT moved to 8-0 at home on the season.
With the win, MIT is now 10-6 overall, 2-2 NEWMAC. Springfield is now 5-10 overall, 0-3 NEWMAC. The Pride has lost four straight.
Three-pointers by Bartolotta and Will Mroz, along with a commanding presence by Soumare on the block enabled the Engineers to build a 15-4 lead just four minutes into the game. However, MIT cooled off over the next five minutes, and after junior center John Strawson (Torrington, Conn.) converted a traditional three-point play, Springfield found itself down 17-14 with 11 minutes still left in the first half.
Despite the shift in momentum, the Engineers never relinquished the lead and back-to-back three’s by rookie Daniel McCue and Bartolotta extended the advantage back to nine. Soumare scored on a basket in the paint with 3:15 left that pushed MIT ahead to 36-24 while a jumper by SC sophomore Pat Crean (Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.) capped the first-half scoring with two minutes still on the clock. Soumare totaled 17 points in the half, as MIT enjoyed a 38-29 lead.
Springfield was determined to claw back into contention and after Gibbs, a senior guard from Norwalk, Conn. delivered on a shot from beyond the arc, the Engineers’ advantage was reduced to 46-42 with 13:57 to play. Bartolotta finished with a conventional three-point play to once again extend the lead, but Gibbs answered with another jumper to keep the deficit at four with less than 10 minutes to go.
Outside of Soumare’s fine offensive performance, the Engineers really benefited from a strong effort by Alex Bagley off the bench. With MIT up by six, Bagley connected on a tough, three-point play to extend the lead back to nine. Then three consecutive free throws gave MIT a 61-50 lead with just over four minutes remaining in regulation.
In the final few minutes, the Engineers turned missed shots by the Pride’s attack into transition opportunities going the other way, as MIT closed the game on a 14-4 run to even up its ledger in conference play.
Soumare finished 11-of-14 from the floor and 10-of-11 at the charity stripe while adding eight rebounds and two blocks.
Gibbs turned in a fine effort for Springfield, finishing with a team-high 22 points on 10-of-21 shooting. Strawson also played well in defeat, adding 17 points and six rebounds including 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. Crean contributed with a game-best nine rebounds and a team-high four assists.
Up next, Springfield will play at Coast Guard on Wednesday, January 23 at 7:00 pm.