January 24, 2006

Suffocating Defense Leads MIT Past Wheaton, 59-51

Jan. 24, 2006

Box Score

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Senior Mike D'Auria scored a game-high 18 points and MIT held Wheaton to its lowest scoring total of the season as the Engineers (13-4, 5-1) clipped the Lyons (11-7, 2-4), 59-51, in NEWMAC basketball action, Tuesday, in Rockwell Cage. Both teams were tremendous on the defensive end, however, a strong second half and a large rebounding edge carried the Cardinal and Gray as MIT swept the regular season series from Wheaton for the first time in league history.

After an opening bucket by rookie Adam Juneau, Wheaton powered ahead with eight unanswered points. James Greenslit and Brian Zukowski each connected from three-point range to jump-start the attack. Zukowski added a second triple three minutes later as the Lyons built a 13-8 lead with just over 12 minutes remaining in the half. Junior Alex Krull kept the Engineers within striking distance early, knocking down two three's before converting a natural three-point play that pushed MIT in front for the first time at 16-15 with 9:07 on the clock.

Greenslit had 13 points in the first half for Wheaton, who continued to power the Lyons' attack. D'Auria supplied two consecutive jumpers for the Tech offense, but Greenslit and Zukowski kept the Lyons ahead with baskets of their own. Greenslit closed out his impressive first half with a three that gave Wheaton a 28-24 lead, but four unanswered points, including a fast-break lay-up by freshman Jimmy Bartolotta leveled the score at halftime.

The Engineers relied on an incredible defensive effort in slowly building a lead that stretched to nine mid-way through the second frame. Wheaton was 8-of-30 from the floor in the second half, including 1-of-12 from behind the arc, while MIT connected on 50% (11-of-22) of its shots during the same stretch. Bartolotta had two driving baskets during a key 13-3 run, while a tough jumper by D'Auria gave MIT a 44-35 advantage with 9:08 to play.

The Lyons battled back behind the inside efforts of Brent DiGiovanna and Jake Otto. DiGiovanna scored 10 points in the second half, including a driving lay-up that reduced the MIT lead to 46-45 with 5:44 left in regulation. Despite the push, Wheaton was unable to grab the lead as D'Auria scored seven points down the stretch to seal the win.

D'Auria led all scorers for the 14th time this season on 6-of-13 shooting, while Bartolotta added 10 points for the Tech offense. Bartolotta actually enjoyed one of the best game of his brief career, grabbing seven boards in addition to three assists and a game-best three blocks. Krull had all nine of his points in the first half with Danny Kanamori chipping in seven points and a game-high six assists. Hamidou Soumare paced all rebounders with 12 caroms off the glass, while MIT closed with a 38-28 edge on the boards.

Greenslit didn't score after a monster first half, but finished the game tied for the team lead with 13 points. Zukowski also added 13 points in addition to five assists and five rebounds. After a big second half in which he kept the Engineers in range, DiGiovanna finished with 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting.