MIT fell to Clark, 71-59 in the NEWMAC semifinal on Saturday.
The Cardinal and Gray stormed out of gates, opening the game with a 17-4 lead, and it seemed like they were on their way to an easy victory, scoring at will. The turning point in the first quarter, however, came after a great Engineer play. Mitchell H. Kates ’13 stole a Clark pass and broke downcourt for an open layup, but tripped and appeared to be shaken up. After he headed to the bench, the Engineer offense seemed deflated, and would not make another field goal for over six minutes. By then, Clark was in the midst of 29-4 run, including four consecutive threes. MIT would come back to take the lead, 47-45, in the second half, but Clark responded with a 10-0 game-sealing run.
MIT was lead by Noel Hollingsworth ’12 with 30 points, but injured starter William E. Bender ’12 was on the bench with an ankle injury and only four Engineers scored points. Against a good shooting team like Clark, MIT had little chance to win with their lackluster overall performance.
The season is not over, however, for the Engineers. They received an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III tournament based on their strong regular-season play, and will face DeSales University in the opening round on Friday, March 5 at William Paterson University in New Jersey. This is the second trip to the “Big Dance” for the MIT men, and they will seek to improve on last year’s performance in the tournament, undoubtedly motivated by this weekend’s loss.