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MIT men topple top seed WPI in NEWMAC semis

Posted by Craig Larson, Globe Staff  March 1, 2014 03:53 PM

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WORCESTER -- The task, as MIT junior Matt Redfield noted, was fairly simple: win or go home.

The Engineers, 17-8 during the regular season, must win the NEWMAC tournament to earn an at-large berth to the NCAA Division 3 tournament. That task started with a 64-56 win over Emerson Wednesday night, and continued with Saturday's semifinal matchup against top seed, and host WPI.

And there, on the court at Harrington Auditorium, MIT played with the poise, toughness, and efficiency of a squad determined to play another day, taking down WPI with a second-half surge that resulted in convincing 64-46 victory. MIT will play Springfield, which prevailed over Babson, 85-77 in OT, in Sunday's final at 1.

WPI, the defending conference champion, swept the regular-season series, 59-47 and 64-52. But it was MIT, in one of its best shooting performances of the season (55.8 percent, 7 of 10 on triples), that controlled the tempo, and the boards throughout.

Redfield, a lanky 6-foot-8 forward from Los Altos, Calif., was a force in the paint, supplying 14 points on 7 of 12 shooting in 38 minutes while dominating the glass with 14 boards, 13 at the defensive end.

"We focused on group rebounding, box out and get to the glass," said Redfield, the anchor for an MIT defense (the best in D3, allowing 55.2 points per game) that limited WPI (22-4) to a season-low in points, on 30.4 percent shooting.

Sophomore wing Justin Pedley (game-high 16 points) drained three of his four 3-point attempts. And sophomore point Ryan Frankel supplied 15 points, including a trey that triggered an 11-2 run to start the second half as MIT (19-8) broke away from a 29-all tie.

"We knew that it would be one and done," said Redfield. "These two games, it's win or go home."

His coach, Larry Anderson, proud of his team's effort, and their work in the paint (a 24-14 edge, after WPI had ruled the previous meeting, 44-16) said "they are not afraid there is no tomorrow."

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