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Boston Weather: 32.0°F | Fair and Breezy

Men's basketball dunks Connecticut

By Kevin T. Hwang

The sub-freezing temperature seems to have kept many MIT fans away from the game; the stands were filled with a Connecticut crowd. Urged on by their fans, the Camels took an early 7-2 lead.

But the Engineers showed poise as their solid defensive plays brought them back. A blocked shot by Shattuck and a steal by Mike Casagrande '89 sparked the Engineers' six unanswered points as they took an 8-7 lead -- a lead which they never relinquished.

The offensive patience of the Engineers neatly complimented their defense. MIT repeatedly made the extra pass that was needed to create an open shot and then hit the offensive boards, fighting for every loose ball.

With 7:41 left in the first half, the Engineers had an eight-point lead and seemed to have the game under control. But the Camels came back with two three-point shots in a row to shift the momentum. The Engineers seemed to have been shaken up, allowing the Camels to steal the inbounds pass and convert an easy layup.

But the Engineers answered with a turn-around jumper by Shattuck and a three-point play by Dave DellaGrote '90. As the half rolled to an end, MIT took a 42-33 lead into the locker room.

The biggest problem for the Engineers during the game was their lack of consistent playing. They came out cold as the second half started, missing their first three shots and going on to shoot only 42 percent.

Connecticut slowly chipped away the lead by posting up inside for an easy two and causing turnovers with their full court pressure.

With 8:44 to go the score was 52-51 and the Engineers' lead was in jeopardy. But once again, it was the defense that managed to turn the momentum. Dave Tomlinson '91 rejected three consecutive shots, lifting the crowd to its feet. MIT then went on a 11-3 run which forced Connecticut to call a time out.

To their credit, the Camels came out red hot after halftime, consecutively sinking two three-pointers. And their pestering defense caused two crucial turnovers which resulted in points.

With 36 seconds left on the clock and the score 68-64, the only hope for the Connecticut was to foul. Unfortunately, Tomlinson took a foul by taking a blow to his face, but he made both of his free throws to increase the lead to 70-64.

With no time left on the clock, a Camel gave DellaGrote a cheap shot to the nose. As the players were shaking hands, DellaGrote took his free throws and made the final score 72-66.

The Engineers notched their 12th win of the season -- one more than they recorded last year, with five games left to play.