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Basketball Extends Streak to 5 With 65-60 Win over Suffolk

By Chris Brocoum
Staff Reporter

The men's basketball team weathered an interesting game Tuesday night at the Rockwell Cage, beating Suffolk University 6560 and improving its record to 124 on the year. MIT has won five in a row and seven of their last eight games.

The game started off slowly as Suffolk ran a sagging 2-3 zone defense that prevented MIT from getting much offense going early. The zone kept MIT's quick guards from penetrating and made it difficult to get the ball cleanly into the post.

Cold shooting over the zone initially caused problems for the Engineers but forward Kareem Benjamin G owned the offensive boards and had several putbacks to keep MIT close.

The Engineers also got a lift from the hot hand of center Zach Inman '01 who used his height to shoot easily over the zone. Inman scored 10 points coming off the bench early in the first half.

The slowdown pace of the game continued to work against the Engineers. To pick things up, toward the end of the half coach Larry Anderson switched up and started applying MIT's aggressive full court pressure.

The increase in intensity got the crowd into the game and steals by Chuck Hsu '98 and Benjamin allowed the Engineers to finish off the half strong. The Engineers headed to the locker room with a comfortable 3427 lead despite their poor shooting.

The second half looked to be much of the same as Suffolk continued to stick with the zone defense, but MIT kept up the pressure for almost the entire half and took full advantage of the turnovers they forced. Melvin Pullen '98 asserted himself in the second half with several big rebounds and a nice alley-oop layin.

Fouls bring Suffolk within reach

With the continued pressure in the backcourt and MIT's dominance on the boards and in the paint by Benjamin, it seemed as the Engineers would run away with the game as they built a double digit lead after halftime.

But midway through the half MIT committed a flurry of fouls and allowed Suffolk to sneak back within reach. MIT's frustration became apparent when players from both teams got tangled after a rebound and crashed to the floor.

As the players got up, Pullen got in a minor altercation with a Suffolk player that emptied both benches and brought the crowd to its feet. The referees quickly restored order and the game continued without further incident.

The skirmish brought intensity to the game and the players stepped up. After Anderson tried to cool Pullen off on the bench for a few minutes, Pullen came back in the game with a vengeance. He got a quick steal and took the ball hard to the hoop, elevating high over Suffolk's Jabez Miller for a big dunk only to have the ball glance off the back of the rim.

The crowd didn't mind, as it roared, taunting the Suffolk player who had been shooting well on the night. Not to be outdone, Benjamin got a steal as well and slammed it home, uncontested on the break.

Craig Heffernan '01 proved to be very valuable in the second half for MIT, cleaning up anything and everything inside and scoring 9 points in the half. Between Heffernan and Benjamin, who scored 8 points in the second half, MIT continued to control the paint.

Pullen's dunk finishes Suffolk

As the game ticked into the final minute, Suffolk began fouling on every possession and clutch free throws by Shane Cruz '01 kept the engineers up by five for a while. With 20 seconds left, and MIT ahead by only three, Hsu managed to streak behind the Suffolk press and Benjamin hit him with a perfect touchdown pass for the fast break. Hsu's layup rolled out but Pullen was there on the two-handed follow-up dunk, with authority, to leave the final score at 6560, MIT.

Benjamin led the Engineers and had a double-double, finishing the game with 12 points and 17 rebounds. He also had 3 steals and 1 block. Pullen played an all around game with 9 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block. MIT was also led by Heffernan's 15 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist and the efficient Inman who had 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 block after after only 12 minutes playing time.

Cruz used his two clutch free throws to cap a good performance of 11 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 assist.