Basketball earns first-ever trip to national semifinals
After two wins last weekend, MIT’s Men’s Basketball team earned itself a trip to Salem, Va. to play in the Final Four round of the NCAA Division III Tournament for the first time in program history. MIT beat Staten Island 83-67 and Franklin & Marshall 69-54 to secure its spot in the Final Four.
MIT dominated the first half in its Sweet Sixteen game against Staten Island. The game started close, with neither team able to earn an early lead. With Staten Island up 10-9 with 14:38, MIT turned on its defense, managing a 10-0 run in less than four minutes. Mitchell H. Kates ’13 and James D. Karraker ’12 exchanged threes to help MIT maintain its lead. The Engineers ended the first half ahead, 44-30.
MIT coasted through the second half of the game, keeping Staten Island from catching up. The Engineers ended the game 83-67. Their shooting performance was incredible, shooting 53.3 percent from the field and a high 54.5 percent from beyond the arc. Karraker scored 25 points, on seven of 10 3-point shooting. Kates led the team in scoring, with 29 points, five of eight from 3-point range, four steals, and five assists. William Tashman ’13 managed a double-double, with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Noel Hollingsworth ’12 also had a good game, with 13 points and eight rebounds.
MIT played well in its Elite Eight game at Franklin & Marshall (F&M), who defeated No. 2 ranked Amherst in the Sweet Sixteen. The Engineers started slowly, down 5-9 at 14:11. After three consecutive 3-pointers, MIT turned the game around, taking a 14-9 lead against F&M. The Engineers ended the half with a strong 30-23 lead. F&M was able to reduce MIT’s lead to eight with 1:14 left in the second half. The last minute was a free-throw shooting contest; MIT starting with an eight-point advantage had no trouble holding on to the lead, winning 69-54.
The Engineers once again had a strong performance from the outside range, shooting nine of 16. Karraker led the 3-point performance, scoring 17 points on five of 10 3-point shooting. Kates led the offense with 21 points and eight assists; Kates also managed to steal the ball from the opposition three times. Hollingsworth almost had a double-double with nine rebounds and 17 points. MIT managed to hold a strong F&M to only 38.3 percent shooting. The Engineers truly performed at a championship level, playing well on both ends of the court.
The Engineers will next be playing Friday, March 16 against Wisconsin-Whitewater in Salem, Va. in the NCAA Division III Final Four semifinals. The winner of that game will then play the winner of the Cabrini-Illinois Wesleyan game in the finals.