November 20, 2005

Balance, Free Throws Carry MIT Past Emmanuel In Season Opener

Nov. 19, 2005

Box Score

BOSTON, Mass. - Mike D'Auria was perfect from the free-throw line in eight tries en route to a game-high 20 points as MIT overcame a second-half stutter to defeat Emmanuel College, 70-56, in the opening round of the Saints' tip-off tournament. With the victory, MIT will face SUNY Geneseo in the championship at 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Early three's by Danny Kanamori and Will Mroz pushed the Engineers (1-0) in front 11-1 seven minutes into the game. The Saints tried to battle back, but MIT hampered their efforts early with solid defense and great distribution. Jumpers by D'Auria, Phil Murray and Bradely Gampel kept the Emmanuel attack at bay, while swelling the lead well into double-figures.

The balance for MIT served as one of its greatest strengths in Saturday's season-opening win as the Engineers scored 19 points off the bench in the first half alone. Alex Krull contributed nine of those points; scoring on three straight possessions to lift MIT to a 34-19 lead. The Saints tacked on two free throws in the final seconds of the half to trim the lead to 13 at the break.

After D'Auria stretch the lead back to 15 on the first shot of the second frame, Emmanuel went on a 19-1 run that pushed the Saints in front at 40-37 with 12:57 left in regulation. Mack Spellman hit the big three that gave Emmanuel its first lead of the tilt and erased a once seemingly secure lead. The Engineers had eight turnovers during the run, and the Tech shooters went cold from the outside.

With momentum clearly in favor of the host-Saints, Danny Kanamori snapped the skid with a three that knotted the game back up at 40. Kanamori's jumper sparked new life into Tech's hardwood unit as MIT became much more aggressive in attacking the basket. MIT's renewed energy was rewarded with 25 free throw attempts in the half. The Engineers made good on 18 of them and finished the game shooting 73.3% from the line. More importantly, rookie Jimmy Bartolotta and D'Auria combined to make seven in a row in the final two minutes of the game.

"I was extremely pleased with our energy level," said head coach Larry Anderson. "There's a ton of work still to do, but we defended well for most of the game. I was especially excited by the play of Will (Mroz) and Alex (Krull). They truly made the difference for us today."

Mroz and Kanamori joined D'Auria in scoring double-figures for the Engineers. Mroz went 4-of-6 behind the arc to close with 12, while Kanamori was 3-of-3 from the floor including two from outside to finish with 10. Hamidou Soumare led MIT with eight rebounds, while Phil Murray and Bartolotta each grabbed seven boards.