ONEONTA, N.Y. – No. 3 ranked MIT scored the game's first eight points and led by as many as 25, en route to a 83-63 win over Farmingdale State in the second round of the NCAA Division III men's basketball tournament at Hartwick College on Saturday night. Senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) scored a game-high 37 points, tying a career high, and grabbed 12 rebounds. With the win, the Engineers (27-1) advance to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the first time in program history, where they will face the College of Staten Island, next Friday night. The location for next weekend's games will be announced by the NCAA on Sunday.
Hollingsworth's scoring explosion came on 16-for-26 shooting, including four-of-six from long range. Junior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) had his second double-double of the NCAA tournament with 16 points and 13 boards while junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) also had a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 11 assists. Senior Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, W. Va.), made four three-pointers to set a new MIT single-season record, and finished with 12 points.
Josh Smith (Deer Park, N.Y.) led Farmingdale State with 16 points to go along with 5 caroms. Senior Dyshaun Flournoy (Brentwood, N.Y.) had 14 points, on six-of-15 shooting, for the Rams, who see their season come to an end at 23-6.
Head Coach Larry Anderson was pleased with his team's effort, saying "Today was a good day for us, obviously. We got the monkey off our back [getting into the Sweet 16]. All of the credit goes to the student-athletes, particularly the upperclassmen, and if we're going to go any further it will be because they take us there."
The Engineers came out firing on all cylinders, knocking down their first three shots to take an 8-0 lead in the game's first 63 seconds. Hollingsworth started it off with a three-pointer and a layup before Karraker connected from deep. Farmingdale State got on the board thanks to a traditional three-point play by Smith just over two minutes in but the Cardinal and Gray extended its lead, thanks to back-to-back trifectas by Hollingsworth and Karraker. The Engineers would make five of their first six attempts from long range and lead by as many as 19 in the first half.
Hollingsworth ended the frame with eight straight points, to give the big man 27 for the half, as MIT took a 53-34 lead into the locker room.
The Rams started the second half with six straight points on layups by Ibrahim Johnson (New York, N.Y.), AJ Matthews (Brooklyn, N.Y.) and Dyshaun Flournoy (Brentwood, N.Y.), to cut the deficit to 13. After the teams traded a pair of buckets, the Engineers went on another spurt, this time outscoring Farmingdale State, 12-2, over a 3:07 span, to push their lead to 23, before closing out the 20-point victory.
The Cardinal and Gray shot 53.0% from the field and made nine three-pointers. The Engineers assisted on 21 of their 35 made baskets and had a 46-32 edge in points in the paint over the Rams.
"If we're going to go any further we're going to have to play better," Anderson remarked after the game. "But I'm going to enjoy this one for a while and then start preparing for next week."
When asked about his big night, Hollingsworth said, "Early on, we saw the big guys were sagging off so we thought we could get some outside looks. [Will] Tashman sucked the big guys in and I was able to make a couple of outside shots. Overall I thought we played really well as a team and I was able to take advantage of the open looks."
With the win, MIT avenged its loss to Farmingdale State in the 2009 NCAA tournament second round, during Tech's first ever postseason appearance.