Thursday, February 11, 2010

MIT Shoots for 20 Wins; Anderson Aims for 200

The nationally-ranked No. 11 MIT Engineers will seek to reach 20 wins for the third time in five seasons as it continues its best start in school history at home tonight against Clark. A victory against the Cougars (12-9, 3-5 NEWMAC) would also match the Engineers (19-2, 7-1) highest single-season win total in conference play and mark the 200th career victory for head coach Larry Anderson.

Clark is coming off an impressive 67-50 victory at Coast Guard, but is just 2-3 since its narrow loss to MIT on Jan. 16. Undefeated against Division III competition at the time, the Engineers erased a 14-point first half deficit and fought a raucous home crowd before hanging on for a 54-51 win at the Kneller Athletic Center. Mark Alexander had a chance to tie the game at the buzzer, but his good look from three fell short from the right wing. Noel Hollingsworth led all scorers with 17 points, while Brian Vayda paced the Cougars with 13. After trailing by eight at halftime, the Engineers surrendered just 16 points in the second half while holding Clark to 29% shooting from the floor.

Tonight's contest is expected to be a low-scoring affair as MIT (58.1 ppg) and Clark (64.3) rank first and second in the NEWMAC in scoring defense. Both squads are holding the opposition to a league-low 29% from beyond the arc. Alexander ranks third in the conference in scoring at 17.7 ppg, while Vayda, who is also the team's top rebounder, is sixth at 15.5.

MIT is 27-34 all-time against Clark, but has won the last three games and four out of the last five.