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William Tashman ’13 takes a layup during the Men’s Basketball game against RPI on Nov. 17. The Engineers defeated RPI 104-75.
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Last Thursday, MIT’s Men’s Basketball obliterated Gordon College’s Fighting Scots with a 70-38 victory. The Engineers literally beat the Fighting Scots in every category, with less turnovers and fouls and more assists, steals, blocks, and rebounds, as well as higher free throw, three point, and field goal percentages. MIT’s Coach Anderson took advantage of the lack of fight in the Fighting Scots by clocking the bench in for more time than usual, resulting in a huge 23-point bench contribution. MIT played well as a team, which will be key to the Engineer’s success in the future.

The game started off slowly for both teams, taking nearly four minutes for either team to score; Noel Hollingsworth ’12 broke the peace with a jump shot. Hollingsworth went on to finish the game as the lead scorer with 15 points as well as five rebounds and two blocks in just 23 minutes of play. MIT was hot after Hollingsworth’s shot, taking a lead of 15-2 by the 8-minute mark and finishing the half with a 34-14 lead. The team’s stellar defense was apparent throughout the half, being able to shut down Gordon offensively, only allowing them to score two points in the first 12 minutes of the game.

The Engineers cruised after managing their huge early lead, treating the game more like a scrimmage, giving the youth of the team an opportunity to build skill, and the youth did well. William F. Dickson ’14 was able to score six points and grab five balls off the board in just 10 minutes of play. Even though the Engineers didn’t shut down the Fighting Scots defense quite as well as they had in the first half, Coach Anderson was more pleased with the team’s performance in the second half as the scoreboard didn’t relay how well the team played as a unit during the second half.

The second half of the game was rough — the Fighting Scots, aggravated with their low score, played an incredibly aggressive game. The Engineers responded well, doing what they do best — being smart. Gordon College pushed for the ball, guarding the men too closely; MIT used the aggressive defense to its advantage, running through the holes to make a series of layups between James D. Karraker ’12, Mitchell H. Kates ’13, William E. Bender ’12, and Hollingsworth, leaving the Engineers with a huge lead of 48-18 after just four and a half minutes of play in the second half. MIT cruised from that point on in the game, giving the bench a large amount of playing time.

The Engineer’s defense was phenomenal during the game — MIT’s height and quickness combined with good team communication put a lot of pressure on Gordon College’s offense, causing the team to buckle. Notable performances came from the thieves of the game, William Tashman ’13 and Kates. Tashman just missed a double-double, with nine points and nine rebounds, and an impressive 3 steals, 5 assists, and a block. Kates had really nimble fingers, snagging 4 steals and scoring 10 points, with 3 assists and 2 rebounds to top the game off. The Engineers, as a team, dominated the boards as usual, with 35 rebounds and snatched well with 10 assists. On the offensive end of the court, the Engineers managed to impress making 50 percent from downtown and 51 percent from the field.

MIT vs. RPI

On Saturday, the Engineers of MIT proved to be more skilled than the Engineers of Rensselaer (RPI). RPI proved to be a formidable team with their ice hockey style of play — instead of the traditional one or two substitutions every couple of minutes, RPI subbed the entire team, which, in theory, allowed them to play every point fresh and full of energy. Cardinal and Gray had to adjust to RPI’s style of play. Generally a team that slows down their opponents, the Engineers of MIT found themselves playing a much quicker style of play in order to hold RPI from taking a victory.

The game stayed even much of the first half; RPI and MIT were tied with 9:44 left in the first half and a score of 26-26, when RPI made a four-player substitution which turned the game around. MIT, catching on to RPI’s style, were able to capitalize on the poor plays of RPI’s fresh off the bench squad, who were not yet tuned with the MIT Engineer’s game. MIT went on an 11-2 run, during which RPI missed five from downtown and made three turnovers, giving Cardinal and Gray a 37-28 edge on RPI. The MIT Engineers ended the first half in the lead, 46-37.

Rensselaer played extremely aggressively at the start of the second half; missing their shot attempts at first, RPI let MIT take a 54-40 lead. Then, the buckets started to fall for RPI, focusing on the three-point shot and going on a 13-3 run, RPI found themselves right behind MIT, only down 53-57 with a little less than 15 minutes of the half left. MIT, of course, responded. Cardinal and Gray found its groove; playing a strong defense, MIT needed to find its offensive firepower. The team started to play a more aggressive offense, taking advantage of RPI’s full-court press — RPI, a team with less physique and skill than MIT, was not able to hold MIT’s strong press break, leading to a series of break-and-drive layups. The team went on to win by a resounding 29 points, with a final result of 104-75.

There have been reservations made by MIT’s offense in past games, but this last game against strong opponent RPI said otherwise. MIT’s offense in the game was a full team effort, like their defense has been thus far. Only on the bench for two minutes during the entire game, William E. Bender ’12 added to MIT’s fire, scoring 24 points, joining William Tashman’s ’13 23 and Noel Hollingsworth’s ’12 28, giving the team 3 scoring stars to look at. Mitchell H. Kates ’13 had a great game as point guard, taking home an impressive 9 assists and snatching the ball away from the opposition 3 times. Kates and Bender, two of the primary ball handlers of the team, held on to the ball incredibly well — only losing the ball three times in the entire game, both stealing the ball more times than losing it. James D. Karraker ’12 and William F. Dickson ’14 provided scoring options for the team as well, scoring 12 and 7 points respectively.

Tashman and Hollingsworth made their second double-doubles of the year, Tashman with 10 rebounds and Hollingsworth with 15. MIT’s Engineers remain undefeated after the first week with a 3-0 record and will next play today at 2 p.m. at Emmanuel College.