March 9, 2012

No. 3 MIT Moves within One Game of Final Four with 83-67 Win over Staten Island

LANCASTER, Pa. – The No. 3 MIT men's basketball team moved within one game of the Division III final four thanks to an 83-67 win over the College of Staten Island in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Friday night. The Engineers connected on 12-of-20 shots from three-point range and shot 53.3% from the field while holding Staten Island to its lowest output in 17 games. Tech will face host Franklin & Marshall College on Saturday at 7:00 p.m.

Junior Mitchell Kates (Colts Neck, N.J.) led all scorers with 29 points and added five assists. Senior Jamie Karraker (Morgantown, W.Va.) hit seven-of-10 three's en route to 25 points. Junior Will Tashman (Atherton, Calif.) recorded his third straight double-double of the NCAA tournament with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Senior Noel Hollingsworth (Salt Lake City, Utah) was also in double figures for Tech with 13 points.

Tech (28-1) withstood a late rally from the Dolphins to hold on for their 12th straight victory. After trailing by as many as 22 in the second half, Staten Island began its run midway through the period, running off six straight at one point and getting within nine before succumbing to the third-ranked Engineers.

"First of all my hats off to Tony [Petosa], that's a tremendous basketball team that we just played," MIT Coach Larry Anderson said after the game. "Even when we were up 20+ points, we never felt we had the game in hand."

A Tashman layup put MIT ahead, 71-55, with four and a half minutes remaining but Bloochy Magloire (Staten Island, N.Y.) was fouled on a three-pointer and Javon Cox (Bronx, N.Y.) hit a jump-hook to cut the deficit to 11. After Kates made one-of-two from the line, Cox came back with a layup at the other end and Staten Island was within 10 with just over two minutes left. Magloire made a step-back three-pointer on CSI's next possession but freshman Paul Dawson (Stone Mountain, Ga.) came off the bench to knock down a pair of free throws to push the lead back to 11.

CSI had a chance to slice into the deficit but Magloire and senior T.J. Tibbs (Staten Island, N.Y.) could not connect from three and MIT calmly sank its free throws, making 11-of-12 in the final 1:40.

The Cardinal and Gray took a 44-30 lead into the locker room thanks to nine first-half three's, including a perfect six-for-six from Karraker. It took the Engineers nearly two minutes to connect from the field but once but once they did, they did not miss many, shooting 56.7% in the half. After a pair of free throws by Javon Cox (Bronx, N.Y.) put the Dolphins on top, 10-9, Tech would run off 10 straight points to take a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the evening.

Staten Island would close the gap to five on a pair of occasions, but after the second, at the 8:25 mark, MIT went on an 8-2 run to push the lead back into double digits.  Another Karraker three-ball, with just over a minute to play in the half, gave Tech its largest lead of the frame at 42-28.

Jordan Young (Asbury Park, N.J.) was the high scorer for Staten Island with 19 points. Magloire (17), Cox (16) and Tibbs (13) were also in double digits for the Dolphins.

When asked about the Kates' and Karraker's big night, Anderson cited the team's balance as a key factor. "All year long we've tried to have a balance [offensively]. It was their [Kates and Karraker] tonight and maybe tomorrow night our big guys will be the focal point."

When asked about being just one game from the Final 4, Kates responded, "We've never been here before but we expected to be here at the beginning of the year."

Karraker credited his teammates with helping him fill the scoring column, "I was definitely feeling it tonight but credit to Mitch and Tash [Tashman].Tash set great screens to get me open and Mitch found me in transition."

MIT will look to achieve a new level of success for the program on Saturday night. To advance, the Engineers will need to go through the ninth-ranked Diplomats. The sectional final will begin at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night at Franklin & Marshall.