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On Friday, MIT’s Men’s Basketball team played at cross-town academic rival Harvard’s court in a close 69-54 game. Fortunately, this loss will not taint the Engineers’ Division III record, as Division III season has not yet started.

Though the Engineers were not victorious on the scoreboard, their performance merited a victory in some senses of the word — being a Division III team but still keeping a Division I Ivy League powerhouse like Harvard on its toes is no easy accomplishment. What’s even more impressive is that MIT didn’t bring all of its firepower, leaving behind Noel Hollingsworth ’13 and Jamie Karraker ’12. The Engineers had trouble finding easy baskets and Hollingsworth and Karraker are great at doing just that. All-American Hollingsworth’s indefensible hook shot would have helped remedy MIT of Harvard’s tough and large defense in the paint, and lights-out shooter Karraker’s ability to put down threes, holding the Institute record for sheer quantity, would have opened up easy conversions on the outside that the Engineers needed.

After some sloppy ball-handling on both sides of the floor, MIT set off to a fiery start, leading Harvard 10-0 thanks to two threes by Mitchell Kates ’13 and James Burke ’13.

Harvard quickly rebutted refusing MIT points with a rock solid defense and a quick offense leading to a 20-2 run to put Harvard ahead 20-12. Kates finally broke the run with a three and the two teams exchanged shots for the rest of the half, leading to a score of 31-26 in Harvard’s favor.

The second half started unfortunately for MIT — a trio of jumpers left MIT behind, 37-26, and MIT was never able to fully recoup from the run. Still, the Engineers put up a valiant effort, holding Harvard to only 69 points and the difference to only 15.

Kates performed stunningly throughout the game, leaving even the Harvard commentators in awe for his sheer talent. Kates, who played the first 39 minutes of the game with no rest, put up 20 points for the Engineers, as well as three assists and three steals. Burke, who last played for MIT as a freshman and is now rejoining the team as a senior, clocked 39 minutes as well, and fan-favorite forward William Tashman ’13 put in an equally impressive 38 minutes. Tashman also made his presence loud and clear, taking 15 points and a whopping nine rebounds over a taller, more athletic Harvard team.

MIT’s Men’s Basketball can look forward to one of its best seasons this year. With a team more talented and more experienced than last year’s, the Engineers have earned the number one spot in the preseason Division III rankings. Looking at the Engineers’ performance this last year, a 29-2 season record and a trip to the final four, it’s very likely that they take home the championship this year, and it’s even possible that they do so going undefeated this season.

The men’s basketball team will next play at Lesley University on Thursday, Nov. 15 to open their Division III season. Their first home game will be against Emmanuel College at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in Rockwell Cage.