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The MIT men’s basketball team hosted Babson in its NEWMAC opener on Saturday. Despite four Engineers finishing in double-figures, Babson connected on nearly 52 percent of its shots to hand the nationally-ranked No. 19 Engineers a 73-56 loss, their third in four games.

The two teams exchanged leads for the first ten minutes, and the score was tied at 15 with 9:41 left in the half. Two minutes later, however, Babson scored eight unanswered points, leading to a 10-4 run to close the half.

A William Tashman ’13 layup to open the second half scoring cut the MIT deficit to just five, but Babson responded with five straight points to build a 38-28 lead less than a minute into the second stanza. Back-to-back buckets by Nicholas A. Davis ’14 later in the frame brought the Cardinal and Gray within four points of the lead. From there the Engineers would see their visitors score 13 of the next 16 points over a 6:27 stretch to open up a 14-point advantage.

Babson hit consecutive three-pointers with 8:03 to go, increasing their lead to 53-39. Tech would get as close as eight on a few occasions down the stretch but could not chip away at the Babson lead any more than that, dropping its conference opener for the first time since the 2006-07 season.

Davis and James D. “Jamie” Karraker ’12 topped the scoring column for the Cardinal and Gray with 12 apiece. Mitchell H. Kates ’13 scored 11 points while adding seven boards and six assists. Tashman also finished with 11 for Tech.

The Engineers will look for their first league win on Wednesday, Jan. 12, when they travel to WPI for a 7 p.m. game.