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92-77 Loss to Tufts Brings Men's Hoops to 8-10

Helen M. Lin--The Tech
Melvin D. Pullen Jr. '97 scores a goal in the match on Tuesday against Tufts University. MIT lost 92-77.

By Thomas Kettler
Staff Reporter

In a game closer than the score indicated, the men's basketball team lost 9277 to the Tufts University Jumbos Tuesday night at Rockwell Cage. The nonconference loss left the team 810 for the season.

Tufts started strongly by scoring the first nine points of the game in the first three minutes. Joe Levesque '95 scored the first points for MIT 3 minutes, 5 seconds into the game on a field goal. That started the team as it eventually tied the game at 1111 on a Nikki Caruthers '95 field goals three minutes afterward.

The teams traded baskets for the next six minutes as the score was tied four times in that span until Melvin Pullen '97 gave MIT its first lead at 2221 on one of two free throws with eight minutes left.

The lead was short lived as the Engineers and Jumbos continued to trade baskets throughout the half, resulting in four more ties and four lead changes.

Later on, Pullen's field goal with 36 seconds left gave MIT one of its largest leads ever at 4035 before Tufts had a field goal with 14 seconds left to make the halftime score 4037.

The second half started on a strong note for the Engineers as Levesque scored a field goal two seconds into the half off a long inbounds pass to make the score 4237. After a free throw by Tufts made the score 4238, Keith Whalen '96 made afree throw to give MIT its last five-point lead at 4338, 35 seconds into the half.

The Jumbos then made the next seven points to take the lead at 4543 before Levesque's field goal gave the Engineers their final tie at 45.

After that, Tufts had an 82 run to take a six-point lead six minutes into the period. After that, MIT would get no closer than two on Pullen's field goal with eleven minutes left at 5654.

Following Pullen's field goal, the Jumbos had an 112 run to gain a double digit lead at 6756 with eight minutes left.

When only four minutes left and a deficit of 10 points, the Engineers resorted to fouling the Jumbos to send their worst shooters to the free throw line. This somewhat worked as Dave Cunningham was especially poor at shooting from the line.

Unfortunately, MIT could not close the gap due to poor shooting on their own, especially at the line. At the end, Tufts countered by getting the ball to their best shooter at the line, Chad Onofrio. Onofrio made six of six in the span of one minute to ice the game.

Tufts led by as many as 16 at 9175 with 19 seconds left before a Caruthers' field goal and a Tufts free throw produced the final score of 9277.

Statistically speaking, the game was lost on the floor. Tufts shot 59 percent from the floor, an amazing number given their lack of transition baskets but understandable given the numbers of baskets on drives. MIT responded with an acceptable 48 percent.

Neither team shot well from the line. The Jumbos only shot 50 percent from the line. The Engineers did better at 53 percent overall but a poor 48 percent in the second half when converting free throws would have eliminated the gap in the score.

Individually, Tufts had two players score over 20 - Chris McMahon leading with 27 and Eric Emmert adding 21. MIT countered with four in double figures, led by Whalen's 19 with Caruthers and Levesque adding 15 and Pullen 12.

Head coach Leo Osgood spoke glowingly about Whalen's performance Tuesday night. "Keith Whalen always brings his game. He's been a solid player on our front line since his freshman year. It shows in his points and his rebounding, and he has an enormous work ethic when it comes to the offensive side of the game."

Levesque led the team in rebounds with eight while Randy Hyun '95 added seven.

Last week, Levesque was named to the ECAC New England Division III Honor Roll. He scored 46 points and had 20 rebounds in two games. Against New England College, Levesque scored a career high 30 points.