Feb. 7, 2006
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. - Before tip-off on Tuesday, the MIT (15-7) faithful honored Tech's four seniors, who were playing in their final regular-season home game. After the tip, the senior class asserted control and pushed the Engineers past a resilient squad from Lesley University (9-10), 73-67. Phil Murray paved the way for the Cardinal and Gray with a career-high 23 points and nine rebounds.
The first half provided plenty of enjoyment as the see-saw battle was played to an extremely quick pace. As he did all night, Toby Brittian served as the catalyst for the Lesley offense. The junior forward was dominant for the Lynx, scoring a game-high 32 points on 11-of-19 shooting and a perfect 10-of-10 at the foul line.
Senior Danny Kanamori orchestrated a solid opening period for the Engineers, dishing out seven assists in the first frame. Fourth-year standout Mike D'Auria was the recipient on four of those feeds en route to an 11-point half. D'Auria also grabbed seven caroms off the glass in the first as MIT controlled the boards. A lay-up by Patrick Escabi actually put Lesley in front at 33-32 with two minutes left in the stanza, before D'Auria answered with four straight points to close the half.
A lay-up by Murray and a three by Kanamori expanded the Tech advantage to, 41-32, just two minutes into the second. Despite the push, the Lynx battled back behind Michael Lush and the commanding inside presence of Brittian.
Lesley slashed the lead to 41-40 after Brittian's third consecutive finish, but rookie Bartolotta provided the Engineers with some breathing room by snapping the skid with a triple from the baseline. Bartolotta added a deuce on the ensuing possession off a pretty feed from D'Auria and the Engineers seemed on their way to breaking the game open. But Brittian and company refused to give in, and after Luke Gibson drilled a three following four straight free throws by Brittian, the Lynx had leveld the score at 58 with 6:20 left to play.
Sophomore Will Mroz made a triumphant return for Tech's hardwood unit, and his spot-up three on MIT's next possession put the Engineers back in front, 61-58. On MIT's next trip down the floor, Mroz got the call again, and nailed another three that proved to be a crushing blow to the Lesley attack.
Brittian continued to power Lesley, and a thunderous two-hand dunk on a fast-break closed the gap to 68-64 with 1:57 on the game clock. But despite another comeback bid, the Engineers sealed the tilt at the line.
D'Auria struggled from the floor en route to 14 points, but despite the 4-of-14 performance, No. 24 hauled in a game-high 10 boards and dished out seven assists. Mroz tacked on 13 to MIT's totals on 4-of-8 shooting, including 3-of-6 from three-point range. After a scintillating first half, Kanamori finished with six points and a game-high eight assists. As a team, the Engineers out-rebounded the Lynx, 38-26.
Michael Lush joined Brittian in reaching double-figures for Lesley with 11 points, while Escabi chipped in 10. James Parker also played well for the Lynx, scoring eight points and grabbing nine rebounds in the losing effort.