CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The MIT men’s basketball team recently spent nine days in Taiwan, participating in the 5th Annual Kainan University International Basketball Invitational tournament, an eight team tournament in which the squad competed against a number of collegiate teams from the region. The Engineers, as they did in their first trip to Taiwan in 2006, captured the Tournament crown, clinching the title with a 98-81 win over Taipei Physical Education College (TPEC) in the final.
Playing before a standing-room only crowd in the Championship game, the Cardinal and Gray took advantage of its depth, gradually pulling away from the TPEC team, increasing its lead from 2 after the first quarter, to 15 at the half, to a lead of more than 20 at times during the second half. The MIT defense hounded the TPEC guards with a stifling, full-court, man-to-man defense that took the opponents out of their offensive rhythm and was a major factor in the win.
The Engineers were honored after the game with a lively awards ceremony that saw hundreds of local students and fans flood the Yong Yu Gymnasium court, in search of handshakes, autographs or some other keepsake of the MIT visit.
Playing with the International 24-second shot clock seemed to quicken the pace of the games, as the Engineers recorded some record-setting offensive efforts in the five games of the tournament, including a 123-point outburst against Hsuan Chang University, which tied the Institute mark for points in a single game. Tech also put up 114 points in a game against Kyushu University.
In addition to the games, the team was treated to a number of memorable off-court experiences while in Taiwan. The days were filled with autograph sessions for hundreds of excited fans, tours some of the historic areas of Taiwan and plenty of time to experience the local food and culture. The MIT Club of Taiwan hosted Coach Larry Anderson and the players to a reception and dinner on the night before the final game and the team also took a trip to the top of Taipei 101, the world’s second tallest building.
The trip was a memorable and enlightening experience for Coach Anderson’s young team, who will look to use the excursion as a building block for the 2010-11 season.