Basketball makes history, advances to Sweet 16

Men’s team vying for Elite Eight at F&M after Skidmore and Farmingdale victories

The MIT’s Men’s Basketball team made program history last weekend, advancing to the nation’s Sweet 16 for the first time in Institute history, beating Skidmore and Farmingdale State. As a team, MIT picked up five double-doubles this weekend en route to the team’s hope of a national championship.

The Engineers had a rough start against Skidmore, missing six of their first seven shots to go down 9-2 in the first four-and-a-half minutes. A 20-second timeout helped reorganize MIT’s struggling offense and further motivate the team’s defense—in under two minutes, MIT established a 9-0 run, taking the lead 11-9. The game was tight for a couple of minutes until MIT’s defense contained Skidmore’s offense, allowing the Engineers to end what initially looked like a rough half up 10 points, 34-24.

The rest of the first round game was a coast until the final few minutes, during which Skidmore pushed for a chance to continue its season. At the eight-minute mark, MIT held a 10-point, 54-44 lead — in a little over five minutes, Skidmore contained MIT to one point, managing to diminish the Engineers’ lead to 55-53. Mitchell H. Kates ’13 managed to save the game for MIT, scoring eight of MIT’s last 10 points, bringing MIT on top 62-55. William Tashman ’13 and Kates ended the game with double-doubles; Tashman scored 12 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while Kates managed 24 points and 11 rebounds, along with an impressive eight assists and three steals. Noel Hollingsworth ’12 also had a good game, scoring 17 points.

MIT’s game against Farmingdale played out differently — MIT showed Farmingdale, a team that managed an upset win against a higher-ranked team in the first round, what championship level basketball is about.

Hollingsworth played an impressive game for the Engineers, starting out the first half with a 3-point shot to put MIT ahead, 3-0. In a little over three minutes, MIT downed four 3-point shots, two from Hollingsworth and two from James D. Karraker ’12, giving them a 16-3 lead early in the game. MIT’s center, Hollingsworth, managed to play outside of his normal role for the remainder of the half, ending the half with four of six 3-point shooting. The Engineers finished the first half ahead by 19, 53-34.

MIT continued to cruise throughout the second half, pumping individual stats along the way. The team ended the game with three double-doubles: Tashman scored 16 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, along with five assists; Kates had an impressive assists-points double-double, with 11 assists and 11 points; and Hollingsworth, the star of the game, led the team forward into its first Sweet 16 appearance, with a career-high 37 points coupled with 12 rebounds. The Engineers finished the game with an 83-63 win.

MIT will next be playing against Staten Island on Friday at Franklin and Marshall for a spot in the Elite Eight. If MIT wins, they will play the winner of the Amherst-Franklin and Marshall game for a spot in the Final Four and an opportunity to play at the championship site, Salem Civic Center in Salem, Va.