Wheaton Drives Past Men's Basketball With Big Second Half

Jan. 31, 2007

Box Score

Coutesy Wheaton Sports Information

NORTON, Mass. - Senior Brian Zukowski played a hand in nine straight points during a 14-0 second-half run as Wheaton College broke open a two-point game en route to a 71-52 victory over MIT in New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) men's basketball action, Wednesday evening, in Emerson Gymnasium. The Lyons moved to 10-9 overall and 3-5 in the league, tying MIT for fourth place in the NEWMAC standings. The Engineers fell to 10-10 overall.

Lyon freshman Jaxon Leo scored the first basket of the game just 34 seconds in before Wheaton missed its next 12 shots and MIT's offense began to click. The Blue and White trailed by just a 6-4 margin four minutes in, but the Engineers reeled off the next 11 points during a 3:10 stretch, keyed by a pair of three-pointers from senior Alex Krull, to forge a 17-4 lead.

MIT held a 24-15 advantage with 9:11 left in the first half on junior Barnett Koryan's jumper, as the Engineers started the game 10-of-14 from the field, before the Lyons slowly rallied.

A quick 7-0 run over 2:43 made the score 24-22 following sophomore Mark Sullivan's three-pointer at 5:58, and Sullivan countered a Krull long-range hoop with another three at 5:10. Zukowski was key late in the half, connecting from beyond the arc at 1:34 to knot the game at 30 and dishing off on sophomore Kristopher Pedra's go-ahead bucket at 1:04. However, Krull canned a three to give MIT a 33-32 edge with 33 seconds to go, and the Lyons' final two attempts were off.

Wheaton shot only 39.4 percent in the opening half but held close thanks to an 18-11 advantage on the boards, recording 11 off the offensive glass. Junior Brent DiGiovanna nabbed eight caroms, including seven offensive. MIT shot 61.9 percent, hitting 5-of-7 three-point attempts, while being led by 14 points from Krull.

The second half proved to be a different game, as the hosts used 58.3 percent shooting to outscore MIT, 39-19. The Engineers shot 38.1 percent, as Zukowski locked down on Krull, whose only second-half bucket came with 16 seconds remaining. Junior Eric Johnston scored Wheaton's first eight points of the second half and ignited a 9-2 run that broke open a 35-all game with consecutive fast-break hoops, the second of which ended in a three-point play that put the Lyons up, 42-35 at 17:06.

MIT trimmed its deficit to 44-42 on freshman Erich Bracht's three-pointer at 12:07 before the Lyons put the game away with the crucial 14-0 run, which occurred over a 5:09 span. While playing a part in nine consecutive points during that time, Zukowski picked up a fast-break hoop, dished to DiGiovanna, hit a jumper and then found Sullivan, who buried his third three. Johnston capped the run with another breakaway bucket to make it 58-42 with 6:37 remaining.

Johnston and Zukowski each led the Lyons with 15 points, as Johnston shot 6-of-8 in 15 minutes, and Zukowski went 5-of-8 from the floor and 4-of-5 from the charity stripe while adding five assists. DiGiovanna was only one rebound shy of his career high with 11, while Pedra provided stifling defense off the bench with four steals and a block and added nine points.

Krull notched 16 points thanks to four three-pointers, while sophomore Jimmy Bartolotta provided 16 points, six rebounds and five assists. Bracht had 12 points, four assists and three blocks.