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Turnovers by Men's Basketball Lead to 62-47 Defeat to Tufts

Indranath Neogy--The Tech
John Schaeffer '00 dribbles past a Tufts University player in the game on Tuesday. MIT lost 62-47.

By Martin Duke
staff reporter

The men's basketball team's season-long nightmare continued as they fell to the strong Tufts University Jumbos 6247 Tuesday at Rockwell Cage .

The key to the game was turnovers, with the Engineers committing 23 to Tufts' 14. MIT also seemed to turn over the ball at the most inopportune times, stopping runs and feeding those of Tufts. Eric Lindauer '98 and Kareem Benjamin '97 were responsible for seven and six, respectively, although Benjamin more than redeemed himself by turning in a game-leading 26 points (11 for 17) and 10 rebounds, second only to the 13 boards by John Miller '98.

Benjamin's contribution was even more significant considering the continuing injury to center Godfrey Inniss '98 and the uncharacteristically punchless Melvin Pullen '98, who did not score till 6:19 had passed in the second half. Pullen still finished with nine points and nine rebounds.

With Inniss' absence, the Engineers had a great deal of difficulty penetrating to the basket, but they still managed to shoot at a .380 clip, similar to the Jumbos' .361.

The problem, however, was taking shots, as the crowd implored the Engineers to shoot when they continually passed the ball around the perimeter, looking for the nonexistent interior lane, as precious time ticked away. Tufts outshot the Engineers 6150.

While fouls were not as much of a problem as they were earlier in the season as no one threatened to foul out until late in the game, Tufts shot from the line 25 times to provide the rest of the margin of victory.

After a quick 93 opening by Tufts, the Engineers closed the gap to 1211 after 10 minutes had passed with a nice look underneath by John Fluker '97. A few key turnovers, however, had extended the lead to 3022 at the half.

At that point, the outcome was very much in doubt, but a 178 run by Tufts to start the half appeared to seal the result with 9:22 to play. Although the lead climbed to as high as 20, the Engineers rallied in the closing minutes to make the final score 6247.

Although Benjamin became the main story by scoring half the team's points, Lindauer and Pullen both finished with 4 assists. The highest scoring Tufts player was Dan Ragsdale with 15.

With the win, Tufts improved to 133 while the Engineers sink to 119. They have five more chances to improve their 010 conference record. Their next home game is on Saturday against WesternNew England College.