Nelson leads MIT basketball in winBy Paul Paternoster
Aggressiveness was the key to the Engineers' overwhelming 82-46 basketball victory over visiting Emerson College. MIT dominated both the offensive and defensive boards, accumulating 69 rebounds to Emerson's 40.
The tempo of the game was set early in the first half by forwards Bruce Mihura '88 and Evan Pratt '87, who out-hustled the Lions' starting five.
After allowing Emerson to stay close in the first couple of minutes, MIT exploded for 36 points in the first half, outscoring the hapless Lions by 17.
The opportunistic Engineers were sparked by Randy Nelson '86. With MIT leading 11-9 and Emerson threatening to tie the game, the 6@# 3" guard from Buffalo, N.Y. stole the ball from a Lions player, strode down the court, and finished the play with an exciting slam-dunk.
Following that play, the team got fired up. They outscored Emerson, 25-10, to finish the half. The Engineers came out even more tenaciously in the second half, scoring as many points as the Lions did the entire game -- 46.
Nelson finished with 18 points on the game, followed by Mike McElroy '87 (16) and Craig Poole '86 (12). Mihura led the team with 11 rebounds, followed by Poole (10) and the forward tandem of Pratt and Charlie Theuer '85 (9 each).
The victory increased MIT's record to 6-14. This record can be misleading when one tries to evaluate the team's performance. Six of the teams' losses were contests decided in the final 30 seconds of the game. Also considering that the Engineers only won two games last year, Coach Fran O'Brien is very pleased with the team's showing.
"I feel very positive about the progress the team has made this year," O'Brien remarked. In particular, he cited the improved play of Nelson and Pratt, and the leadership provided by the senior members of the squad on and off the court.
Although John Wolfe '85 did not see much playing time this year, his enthusiasm and hard work in practice rubbed off on the other players. "He always gives 120 percent," O'Brien commented.
The 13-year coach foresees the possibility of a .500 season next year. The team will have a nucleus of six experienced players returning next year -- Nelson, Pratt, Poole, McElroy, Mihura, and Jim Egan '86.
The Engineers will be on the road for their remaining three games of the season. Their next game is Thursday at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. That match begins at 8 pm.