MIT Wins Third Straight; Advances to Kainan Tournament Championship
June 1, 2006
TAOYUAN COUNTY, Taiwan - MIT took its 2-0 record into Thursday's contest against National Taiwan University in the first match-up of the day. After a slow start, one that saw MIT's largest deficit of the week, the Engineers climbed back into the game with its depth and offensive balance before pulling away for a 92-59 victory.
MIT led 50-29 at the break after Will Mroz, Hamidou Soumare, and Mike D'Auria scored on consecutive plays and forced NTU to call its second timeout of the first half during an exciting run that closed the second quarter. After the timeout, the Engineers discovered their three-point range again, with Billy Johnson, Mroz, and D'Auria all connecting from deep.
"It was only a matter of time before we would start hitting from outside," said assistant coach Oli Eslinger. "I think many of the guys were so excited earlier because of the large crowd and exciting atmosphere that their focus wasn't at the appropriate level."
The second half provided some fast paced action with the teams trading baskets for a good stretch. After Soumare converted a dunk off an MIT steal, balanced scoring helped the Engineers close the game. In the final minutes, Barnett Koryan had a sweet block from help side, while Alan Ho drained a deep shot that made the crowd erupt for the Taiwan-born MIT player.
"I wasn't pleased with the way we started the game," stated head coach Larry Anderson, "but I was happy with how we were able to play through our fatigue and play typical MIT basketball."
MIT placed five players in double figures, with Mroz leading the way with 16 points. He also added seven boards in what proved to be his best game of the week. Dou scored 15 points, Alex Krull added 13, Johnson had 11 including three three-point field goals, and D'Auria had 11. D'Auria also grabbed a team leading nine rebounds to go along with seven assists and five steals.