Harvard Pulls Away in Second Half to Down MIT, 69-54

Senior Mitchell Kates
Senior Mitchell Kates

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – MIT started its men's basketball season in the same fashion as a year ago, taking their neighbors along the Charles River, Harvard University in a game that was an exhibition on the MIT schedule and a regular season game on the Harvard slate. MIT came out strong with a 10-0 run to start the game, but Harvard eventually came back after its slow start to claim a 69-54 win. Senior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) led all scorers with 20 points for the Engineers.

After a slow start during which both teams turned the ball over on their first two possessions it was MIT that struck first. Kates hit a runner and then picked up a steal and drove the floor to give the Engineers a 4-0 lead two minutes in. Senior James Burke (Scotch Plains, N.J.) and Kates then hit back-to-back treys that completed the 10-0 MIT run over the first four and a half minutes.

After struggling on offense to start the game, Harvard got on the board on a pair of free throws from Christian Webster, who then hit another shot to cut the deficit to six. The Crimson kept the defensive pressure on the Engineers and went on a 14-0 run to erase the MIT advantage. Jonah Travis started it with a jumper at the 11:51 mark and a pair of Wesley Saunders free throws put Harvard up 20-12 with six and a half minutes left in the half.

MIT got back in it after a three-pointer from Kates and a hoop from senior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) brought the Engineers back within three. From there the two teams played evenly down the stretch. Harvard pushed its led lead up to nine with 2:24 left on a three-pointer from Laurent Rivard, but Burke answered on the other end and a nice scoop shot by sophomore Dennis Levine (Weston, Conn.) in the final seconds brought MIT within five at 31-26 at the half.

Harvard opened some breathing room at the start of the second half, getting four points from Kenyatta Smith as part of a 6-2 spurt that allowed the Crimson to build a 39-28 lead over the first three minutes of the half. MIT answered the run with a pair of Kates free throws and a three-point play by sophomore Matt Redfield (Los Altos, Calif.) that pulled MIT back to within six at 39-33 with 16:44 to play.

From there, however, MIT could not whittle any more off the Harvard lead as the Crimson defense held the Engineers without back-to-back baskets until the final minute of the contest. MIT's own defense forced some misses as well and after a jump shot by Tashman with 6:37 left the Engineers trailed by just nine at 57-48. But in less than a minute a layup by Steve Moundou-Missi and a three from Siyani Chambers gave Harvard its biggest lead of the night at 62-48 and the Crimson cruised home from there with the victory.

Tashman nearly had a double-double for MIT, finishing with 15 points and nine rebounds. Burke finished with eight points while Redfield added five points, four rebounds and a pair of blocks off the bench for the Eningeers. Travis led Harvard with 14 points and eight rebounds, with Saunders finishing with 11 points and four assists while Laurent Rivard added 10 points and three steals for the Crimson

MIT will officially open the 2012-13 season next Thursday, November 15 when it plays at Lesley University at 8:00 p.m.
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