WAYNE, N.J. - Will Tashman poured in a career-high, 21 points to go along with nine rebounds but it was not enough to propel No. 21 ranked MIT into the Second Round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, as the Engineers dropped a hard-fought, overtime decision to DeSales University, 72-64. Noel Hollingsworth added 18 points for the Cardinal and Gray, making its second straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament. The loss brings MIT's ledger to 22-5 on the year and concludes the winningest season in program history.
With just over two minutes to go in overtime and the shot clock winding down, DeSales All-America senior, Darnell Braswell, made a contested three-pointer to give the Bulldogs a 68-63 advantage. After a made foul shot by Tashman, Brian Hunter hit a tough fall-away shot to put DeSales up six. Mitchell Kates missed a jumper at the other end and DeSales got a run-out lay-up to extend its lead to eight and secure the win.
The Engineers would not make a field goal in overtime and made just two-of-six from the line, as they were outscored 10-2 in the extra session.
MIT had a pair of chances to win in regulation. With the game tied at 62, Billy Johnson's three-pointer from the corner was blocked and Hollingsworth was whistled for the foul on the ensuing rebound. After Braswell missed the front end of a one-and-one, Kates' step-back jumper could not find the net, giving the Bulldogs a shot for the win. Braswell nearly made a tough up-and-under lay-up at the buzzer but the shot rimmed out, sending the teams into the extra session.
After a Hollingsworth free throw brought MIT within two early in the second, the Bulldogs then went on a 9-2 spurt to take a nine-point lead with 16:19 to go. DeSales led by as many as 10, following a three-pointer by Bob Zanneo at the 10:47 mark, but a 10-2 run by the Engineers, with nine of those points coming from Tashman and Hollingsworth, tied the game at 54 with 9:13 left on the clock.
A pair of foul shots by Kates with 2:47 to go would give MIT its first lead since the 8:50 mark of the first. Tashman's three from the top of the key put Tech on top, 62-60, with just under two minutes to go. However, Jamey Bercier would gather the rebound off a missed DeSales' foul shot and score the tying bucket and send the teams into overtime.
The teams traded baskets at the game's outset, with neither team leading by more than four, until DeSales ran off eight straight points midway through the frame and opened up a 27-20 edge. The Engineers battled back to within three at the break behind a pair of trifectas from Tashman and Kates.
"I'm so proud of our guys and the effort they gave not only tonight but all year" Coach Larry Anderson said after the loss. "You can't ask for anymore than what this young basketball team has come to accomplish, not to mention the great leadership of our two seniors, Pat [Sissman] and Bill [Johnson]. Because of their leadership and the foundation they have laid, it gives us a better chance to take MIT basketball to the next level."
Tashman was particularly efficient, making eight-of-ten shots, including two-of-three from beyond the arc. Hollingsworth added seven rebounds and a career best, three blocks before fouling out in overtime. Kates tallied 16 points to go along with eight boards.
Braswell was the high scorer for DeSales, with 19 and also had a game-high 12 caroms. Hunter filled the stat sheet with 16 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
DeSales enjoyed 45-37 edge on the glass, leading to 22 second-chance points while MIT was unable to overcome a poor day of shooting at the foul line (13-24).
The Engineers are well situated for 2011, losing just two seniors to graduation and returning nine of their ten leading scorers. DeSales will take on the winner of the game between host William Paterson and Albertus Magnus on Saturday, March 6 at 7:00 p.m.