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In Spite of Strong Second Half, Men's Basketball Loses 70-53

Thomas R. Karlo--The Tech
Eric Lindauer '98 passes to avoid Norwich University's full-court press during Tuesday's game. Norwich defense helped them beat MIT 70-53.

By Martin Duke
staff reporter

The men's basketball team, though showing heart in the second half, fell 7053 to the Norwich University Cadets Tuesday in front of a crowd of 176 at Rockwell Cage.

The game can be divided neatly into three segments. Throughout the first half, Norwich took advantage of numerous Engineer turnovers (the final margin was 23 to 9) to open up a 12-point lead. After the break, however, MIT pulled off a 193 run to take their first lead of the game. But the ball started bouncing the other way again in the back end of the second half, and Norwich produced an easy win.

Kareem Benjamin '97 was the key man for the Engineers in the first half and, at times, had two-thirds of MIT's points well into the game. He finished with 18 points.

MIT again had trouble against the full-court press, which created turnovers and opened up a 2510 Cadet lead with 8:30 left in the half. To counter, the Engineers sped up the offense, capped off with Benjamin finding John Schaeffer '00 open on the fast break to close the gap to 2520.

At that point, the Engineers inexplicably slowed it down again, and the Cadets regained their shooting touch to make it a 3624 Norwich margin at the break.

Whatever Coach Larry Anderson said during halftime, he should write down, because the Engineers came out on fire - Melvin Pullen '98 got his first points of the game, MIT maintained a quick tempo, everyone shot well from everywhere on the floor. At the same time, Norwich could not buy a basket.

All contributed to eliminate the deficit and give the Engineers a 5046 lead of its own at the midpoint of the half. But just as quickly as this new MIT team appeared, it vanished. Norwich shot well the rest of the way, and the Engineers got cold again.

A 130 Cadet run put MIT at a severe disadvantage. The backbreaker was a Paul Pecor 3-pointer that made it 6452 with 5:02 remaining. From there, both teams played out the string to the 7053 final.

Other leading scorers for MIT were Pullen with 12, and John Fluker '97 and John Miller '98 with eight. Benjamin and Pullen led both teams with 10 rebounds, and Miller had nine.

MIT is 220, 111 in the Constitution Athletic Conference, not including Thursday's game against Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

The Norwich victory brings their record to 1211, 58 in the conference.