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Men...s Hoops Finds Post Presence And Shoots Well to Beat Polytech

By Travis Johnson

The one thing missing for MIT Men’s Basketball so far this season has been an inside presence, and they found one in Saturday’s 67-50 win against Polytechnic University. Adam D. Juneau ’09 came off the bench to score 10 points, grab 9 rebounds, and play solid defense against the Blue Jay’s center Thomas Young.

MIT, now 6-1 on the season, got on the board first Saturday when Senior guard Michael W. D’Auria, sunk a quick three-pointer. Daniel F. Kanamori ’06 added another three to give MIT a 6-2 lead early.

But turnovers and poor execution stalled the Engineer offense for the next ten minutes, and Polytech built a 14-11 lead with 10 minutes to play in the first half.

This stretch was actually a missed opportunity for Polytech: they had more possessions than the turnover-prone Engineers and got open shots but only hit a meager 24 percent. Their lead should have been a lot bigger than three points.

The Engineers soon got back into an offensive groove. Over next 10 minutes, D’Auria hit two more 3 three-pointers, and James M. Bartolotta ’09 and fellow freshmen Juneau together added 11 points. With Polytech’s offense still sputtering, MIT had a 31-20 lead at half time.

The second half saw an improved Blue Jay offensive effort, particularly from guard Lindon Ivezaj who hit 14 second half points on good outside shooting. But it wasn’t enough. MIT added fast breaks and interior scoring to their outside attack. Point Guard Kanamori led the break for MIT and ended the game with 10 assists and only 2 turnovers, excellent numbers for a point guard.

Kanamori also did a good job in the half court of penetrating the defense and finding both his shooters, D’Auria and Barolotta, and his interior players like Juneau.

Juneau was a force in the post, catching the ball with his back to the basket and drop-stepping towards the hoop. He’s listed at 6’10” and uses that height well, keeping his feet positioned correctly and the ball far away from pesky (and much shorter) guards.

MIT has had great guard play early this season but hasn’t found a consistent inside threat. Before Saturday, the only MIT forward to reach double-digits in scoring was Phillip E. Murray ’06, who had 13 against Suffolk University and is not a true center.

The Blue Jay’s shot much better in the second half, 47 percent from the field, which meant that MIT’s lead stayed at around 15 fore most of the half. The Bue Jays’ shooting percentage went up because MIT’s defense wasn’t as intense but also because they made more of their open shots.

Like last year, MIT is having a good non-conference season. It remains to be seen whether that will translate into a winning record during conference play, which it didn’t last year. The keys will be continuing Saturday’s success in the post and finding a way to get D’Auria open shots against tougher defenses.