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WPI Beats MIT 69-57 in Championship Game

By Travis Johnson

Cold outside shooting and a size disadvantage cost MIT Men’s Basketball Sunday, as the team fell to WPI 56-69 in its first ever visit to the NEWMAC Championship Game.

The game was close for the first fifteen minutes, as neither team could get on track. MIT (20-8, 8-4) got their only lead of the match, a 20-19 advantage, with 5:29 to play in the first half.

WPI (22-3, 9-3) then went on a run that proved to be decisive. They controlled play from the next five minutes and shot a high percentage to open up a 37-26 lead by half-time.

The second half resembled the first fifteen minutes of the first half, with WPI unable able to pull away and MIT unable to come back. WPI increased its lead by 2 points in the second half to win 56-69.

MIT’s leading scorer, Michael W. D’Auria ’06, ended his remarkable career with a forgettable night. He shot a meager 4-18 from the field and 1-6 from beyond the arch, reflecting effective WPI defense as well as poor accuracy on his part. He did hit all four of his foul shots to boost his point total to 13.

James M. Bartolotta ’09 picked up the slack for MIT, scoring 18 points on 7-13 shooting, and also led the team with 11 rebounds. With D’Auria and co-captain Daniel F. Kanamori ’06 graduating, it’s clear that Bartolotta will be the new team leader for next season.

WPI’s key approach was a balanced attack that included offense from both perimeter and post players. All five Worcester starters scored 9 or more points, while MIT only had three players attain that level of production (D’Auria, Bartolotta, and Alexander G. Krull ’07).

As was the case in two earlier meetings this season, both won by WPI in dramatic fashion, the Worcester size advantage played a big factor. On Sunday that advantage manifested itself in post scoring: WPI outscored MIT 28-18 in points in the paint.