CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Senior Mike D’Auria (Newton, Mass.) led the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with a game-high 22 points Wednesday evening as No. 2 seed MIT pushed past No. 7 seed Plymouth State University, 60-55, in the quarterfinal round of the ECAC Division III New England Men’s Basketball Tournament.
MIT advances to the semifinal round Friday and will face NEWMAC rival and No. 6 seed Wheaton College, which advanced with an 82-65 win over No. 3 Emmanuel College. Plymouth State, which was making its fifth straight post-season berth, completes the campaign with a 16-11 record.
D’Auria, who was named New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference Player of the Year on Tuesday, carried the Engineers on the offensive end as he was the only player on the home team to score in double figures. He was 7-of-14 from the field and made all eight free throws.
PSU, on the other hand, used a balanced offense with senior Mark Dunham (Salem, N.H.) finishing with 14 points, junior Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) adding 13, senior Kevin Boutilier (North Andover, Mass.) 12 and senior Brandon Boggs (Strafford, N.H.) 11.
It was anyone’s game throughout the first half, with five ties during the final seven minutes of the half. Neither unit led by more than four points the rest of the way, and Walcek nailed a three-pointer with 21 seconds left to give the Panthers a 31-29 edge at the break.
The Engineers scored the first 11 points of the second half as nearly seven minutes fell off the clock before the Panthers scored their first field goal of the frame. PSU responded with a 12-4 run to take a 45-44 lead with 9:34 to go.
While MIT shot a season-low 17.6% (3-of-17) from beyond the arc, the deep ball kept the Panthers in contention. Plymouth State grabbed its final lead of the night, 55-53, when Boggs and Dunham knocked down back-to-back three’s, the second coming with 3:49 on the clock.
The Engineers converted six straight free throws to swing the game back in MIT’s favor, 59-55. Plymouth State missed its final four shots, which all came from three-point range as MIT secured its first win ever in the ECAC Tournament.
The setback marked the end of the careers of PSU seniors Dunham, Boutilier, Boggs, Charles Gaddy (Hartford, Conn.) and Mike Sullivan (Brookline, N.H.)
(Courtesy of MIT Sports Information)
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