Engineers Top Wheaton, 69-66

Jan. 7, 2006

Box Score

Courtesy
Wheaton College Sports Information

NORTON, Mass. - Senior Mike D'Auria buried two jumpers in the final 1:09 of regulation to lift MIT (9-2, 2-0) to a 69-66 victory over Wheaton College (9-3, 1-1) at Emerson Gymnasium in the first weekend of NEWMAC play. The Engineers' missed a free-throw with five seconds left to play, but the Lyons' game-tying three-point attempt rattled off the rim.

MIT controlled the tempo early, as freshman Billy Johnson tallied five quick points and the visitors grabbed the first six rebounds of the contest, but Wheaton rallied from an 11-4 deficit with a 7-0 run to knot the game at 14:05. Junior Brian Zukowski was instrumental in the comeback, turning a steal into a hoop by freshman Kristopher Pedra and converting a three-point play to tie it.

After three ties over the first 12 minutes, the Lyons took their first lead at 19-17 with 7:47 remaining on senior James Greenslit's three-pointer from the left side. Just 37 seconds later, MIT freshman Adam Juneau tipped in the game-tying basket, and senior Mike D'Auria converted consecutive backdoor passes into hoops to give the Engineers a 23-19 lead with 5:33 to go. However, Zukowski heated up during the final 2:08 of the period, canning a pair of threes and scooping in a driving lay-up with 43 seconds on the clock, sending the teams into the locker room deadlocked at 30.

Pedra and Greenslit hit back-to-back three-pointers early in the second half, and Greenslit provided another bucket and an assist as the Lyons hit four of their first seven second-half shots to take a 42-34 lead by 16:10. From there, MIT senior Danny Kanamori provided five quick points, and D'Auria nailed a long-distance shot at 13:58 to tie the score at 44.

During the remainder of the contest, neither squad led by more than five points as the teams traded the lead nine times, including on six consecutive possessions over the final 3:03. Sophomore Brent DiGiovanna gave Wheaton its final lead at 66-65 on a lay-in with 2:13 to go, but D'Auria knocked down a jumper at 1:09. After the Blue and White failed to convert on its next possession, D'Auria hit a runner and staked MIT to a 69-66 advantage with 16 seconds remaining. Wheaton earned two chances for a tie after the Cardinal and Gray missed from the line with five seconds to go, but the buzzer-beating three just missed its mark.

D'Auria tallied game highs of 25 points and 11 rebounds while recording three steals and three assists. Senior Phil Murray added 11 points off the bench, and Kanamori finished with 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting. The Engineers held a 38-24 advantage on the glass, while holding the opposition under 70 points for the 12th consecutive game dating back to last season.

Zukowski led the Lyons with 14 points while adding four assists and a pair of steals, and sophomore Eric Johnston hit 5-of-8 shots for 13 points. Greenslit finished with 12 points, DiGiovanna went 5-of-6 from the field for 10 points, and senior Sean Kelly contributed seven assists and three steals.

MIT returns to the hardwood on Tuesday, January 10 in a NEWMAC road tilt against No. 9-nationally ranked, WPI. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.