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Mens's Basketball Falls to Tufts

By Thomas Kettler
and Daniel Wang
Staff Reporters

On Tuesday night, the weather outside was cold, and so was the inside of Rockwell Cage. The men's basketball team played cold too, ending up with a 83-53 embarrassment to nationally-ranked Tufts University.

The team's record has now dropped to 6-13. While the Engineers were able to break an away-game losing streak on Saturday with a win over the Wentworth Institute of Technology, they now have a three-game home losing streak.

MIT played the game without the services of starting point guard Nikki Caruthers '95, who was still recovering from an injury. Caruthers's absence caused coach Leo Osgood to make some changes in the line-up; Tim Porter '96 moved from forward to guard, Arthur von Waldburg '97 came off the bench to take Porter's usual spot, and shooting guard Randy Hyun '95 assumed the role of point guard.

Even with the changes, MIT managed to keep the game close through most of the first half of play. Although the Jumbos raced out to a 4-0 lead, forward Joe Levesque '95 responded by scoring the first five points for MIT.

With 18:31 minutes left, he canned a three-point field goal, and then sank a jumper from the free throw line a little more than a minute later. Yet another field goal by Levesque helped put MIT in the lead, 9-8. Unfortunately, this turned out to be its only lead. The Jumbos quickly responded with a bucket, which an Engineer foul turned into three points.

Tufts exploded soon after to generate an 18-7 run, bringing the score to 29-16 at 3:57 before the half. The Jumbos took advantage of errors by MIT to pick up points quickly. With three seconds left in the half, Tufts junior guard Chris McMahon scored his 1,000th point, causing some excitement among the Tufts fans, and the players headed to the lockers with a 43-27 lead.

Second half is downhill

During the second half of play, the game went downhill. The Engineers continued to be cold; they turned the ball over and had trouble putting the ball through the hoop.

The Tufts team seemed like a well-oiled scoring machine, adding points on almost every possession. The MIT machine, despite having two mechanical engineers, looked like it would need many more to function properly.

After the game, Osgood commented, "In the second half the story was written in the first five minutes. We had six turnovers in the first three minutes."

With about seven minutes left in the game, the Tufts coach sat his entire starting lineup down, and let bench player take the floor. The Engineers started scoring, but not enough to even come close. With 2:47 left in the game, Tufts earned almost twice as many points as MIT, 82-42.

In the last two-and-a-half minutes of play, Hyun, who had trouble shooting all night, made two three-pointers in less than 45 seconds. The Engineers took many shots, both from outside and near the basket, but simply could not score.

For the game, three MIT players scored in double figures. Levesque led the team with 15, followed by Porter with 11, and Hyun with 10. Whalen shot unusually poorly, hitting only 1 of 14 from the field, but led the team in rebounding with 12 boards.

The team made only 30 percent of its field goal attempts, along with 29 percent shooting from the three-point line. The Engineers were able to convert 87 percent of shots from the free throw line, including perfect shooting in the second half.

One problem was that they were not able to make many trips to the line; the Engineers were allowed only seven shots, and sank six of them. The Engineers clearly lost the battle of the boards, as Tufts outrebounded them, 53-41.

On his team's performance, Osgood said, "We started making mental mistakes, and they started capitalizing on our mistakes. We just took ourselves right out of the game."

He attributed the loss to many errors and the inability to score. Outside factors that have kept the team members from playing their best include illnesses and the frigid environment of Rockwell Cage.

While not a direct factor, Osgood said that the absence of Caruthers has made the team miss the defense, spirit, and leadership that he usually provides. Caruthers is almost recovered and might see some playing time at the next game.

Blowout at Wentworth

On Saturday MIT downed WIT 98-63 in an away game.

For the game, the Engineers shot an incredible 55 percent for the game while limiting the Leopards to 27 percent. The statistic included a 42 percent performance from beyond the three-point line.

But the team reverted to form from the free throw line, shooting 63 percent. It also dominated on rebounds, grabbing 70 boards to Wentworth's 48. Finally, the Engineers demonstrated teamwork with 30 assists for the game, the most for the season by far.

MIT took the lead halfway into the first half. After Kenny O'Brien of the Wentworth Leopards made a three-pointer at 3:25, the Leopards took an 8-7 Wentworth lead. The Engineers responded with a 10-0 run that kept the Leopards scoreless for almost seven minutes.

Wentworth countered with a 8-0 run of its own that ended with 10 minutes left in the half, when Tom Janeczek made a field goal to make the score 19-16 that would be the smallest MIT lead for the rest of the game.

After Janeczek's basket, forward Joe Levesque '95 answered with a three-pointer that started a 9-0 run. MIT went on a 14-0 run late in the half to enter halftime with a 53-27 lead.

The Engineers shot reasonably well from the floor in the first half, averaging 49 percent but more importantly, keeping the Leopards to a poor 23 percent. MIT also shot well from the line, averaging 75 percent, much better than what the team had done all year.

In the second half, the Engineers continued to play well while the Leopards still could not shoot from the floor.

The only remaining question for the game was, "Would MIT break 100?" When Levesque made a basket off a fastbreak with five minutes left, the Engineers led 92-46, making the magic score seem quite possible.

With MIT's largest lead of the game, head coach Leo Osgood removed the starters to allow the junior varsity players some playing time. Bill Winston '97 scored the Engineers final points with two minutes left to give MIT a 98-53 lead.

Wentworth closed out the scoring with a 10-0 run ending with a field goal by Tim Reilly with one second left in the game to give a 98-63 final score.

Three starters scored in double figures. Guard Tim Porter '96 and Levesque tied for the lead with 21 while center Keith Whalen '96 scored 17. Reserve center Mark Heffernan '95 led the team in rebounds with 14, while Levesque had 12 boards.

Levesque led the team in assists with seven while guard Randy Hyun '95 followed, with six. Finally, on the defense, Heffernan had three blocks and Whalen made three steals.