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UMass Crushes Basketball Team

By Haider A. Hamoudi
Sports Editor

The men's basketball team lost by a score of 89-58 to the University of Massachusetts at Boston last Tuesday night in Rockwell cage. The score is misleading, though: the game was fairly close for most of the first half.

The UMass Boston Beacons took an early 12-4 lead, but MIT quickly cut the lead to four at 20-16. At this point the Engineers, led by forward Mark Heffernan '95, went on a nine point run.

The scoring frenzy began with a field goal by center Keith Whalen '96. After UMass had turned the ball over, the Engineers scored again when Heffernan rebounded a Mark Milton '93 miss and hit an easy two from inside. MIT scored on its next possession when Heffernan made a short layup on a beautiful assist from Milton.

On the Engineers' next possession, Heffernan drove into the paint and made a basket while being fouled. He made the free throw, and the score was at 25-20 Engineers. The Beacons were able to convert on their next possession, but Heffernan responded on the other end with a dunk.

The Engineer lead was short lived. UMass was awarded a three-point play on its next possession, and though the Beacons missed the free throw shot, one of their players was able to tip the ball in after it came off the rim. The MIT lead was then reduced to one, and it wavered between one and three points until UMass' David Hanscom gave his team a one-point lead with 3:32 left in the half.

From then on, the game would belong to the Beacons. In the time left in the first half, they forced two Engineer turnovers, made six fast break points, and completed a three-point play to go into the locker room ahead by eight.

The second half was merely a continuation of the UMass dominance of the late first half. Using a full court press which was to give MIT great trouble for the remainder of the game, the Beacons were able to force a number of turnovers and convert them into fast break points. The lead slowly got larger and larger until the game ended with the Engineers down 31 points.

The cause of the MIT loss is quite clear: They could not beat the full-court press used by UMass while on offense, and they could not keep up with the Beacons while on defense. The Engineers are a slower team, and this was evident as the game wore on.

Statistics demonstrate these facts as well. MIT committed 27 turnovers in the course of the game, compared with 15 by UMass. In addition, the Beacons had sixteen steals on the day, and the Engineers only six.

When the Engineers could get the inside game going, they were reasonably successful. Of all the players on the MIT squad, only Heffernan and Whalen were in double digits. Too many times, however, the ball was taken away before the offense was set up. While part of this can be attributed to poor passing by MIT, the quickness of the Beacon defense must be properly credited as well.

In addition, UMass' impressive shooting from the free throw line (84.2 percent) prevented the Engineers from getting back into the game by fouling frequently.

As a result of this loss, the basketball team dropped to 4-14 on the season, and UMass Boston moved up to 10-9. The Engineers' next home game is on Saturday at 2:00 p.m., where they hope to end their losing streak against Western New England College.