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Men's Basketball Has Strong Half But Falls 67-51 in Defeat by Clark

By Martin Duke
sports columnist

Despite tenacious play in the first half, the men's basketball team lost 6751 to a superior Clark University Cougar club at Rockwell Cage last Tuesday.

The Engineers were defeated almost singlehandedly by the tremendous game turned in by Clark's Keenan Smith. Smith blew away the Engineers with an incredible 29 points, including a mind-boggling seven three-point shots.

To add to his impact, those long-distance shots came at the most inopportune times for the Engineers, stopping good MIT runs and extending the Clark lead to new highs. With the exception of Scott Neil's 15 points, no other Clark player had more than five.

On the bright side for the Engineers, coach Larry Anderson finally got the foul monster under control. Although Luciano Salazar '98 fouled out late, no player got in any kind of foul trouble until the last few minutes of the game.

The top performance by an Engineer was by Kareem Benjamin '97, who matched his season scoring high with 12, in addition to 10 rebounds and 4 assists.

Godfrey Inniss '98 was the defensive force in the middle Anderson has expected all year, with six blocks to go with his six points. Although Javier Lopez '00 sunk two key three-pointers in the first half, he did not duplicate his stunning performance when first given a starting role last month.

Clark quickly opened up a 152 lead at the start of the game, but MIT had closed it to a five-point deficit with 12:30 remaining in the first half. The difference remained in the single digits, and the half ended with a 3426 score.

Immediately after the half, Clark went on a 80 run behind the great three-point shooting of Smith. The lead held at around 16 for most of the second half. After a brief Clark surge that brought the lead to as high as 6140, the lead narrowed back to the 6751 final.

Other high scorers for MIT were Melvin Pullen '98 with 10 and John Fluker '97 with nine. With the loss, MIT drops to 09 overall and 04 in the conference. Clark is now 56 and 41 in the conference and must be considered a contender in the February tournament.