Men’s basketball remains dominant against MIT


Kayla Buck

Senior guard Zach Waterhouse scoring a layup against MIT on Feb. 17, 2022

By Tyler Foy, Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team completed the season sweep on Wednesday in a dominant 97-88 win over the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, improving their record to 16-6.

The Lions entered the game on a three-game winning streak—most recently a close matchup against Springfield College on Saturday which ended 89-82. The Engineers, for their part, had lost their last two games as well as their last face-off against Emerson, where they fell 72-79 on Jan. 22.

The Engineers put the first points on the board, stealing the ball from Emerson and capitalizing on it with a three. Lions senior guard Trevor McLean responded by crossing up the Engineer’s defense and sinking a layup. MIT fired back with a jump shot but this would be the last lead they would have in the game. 

McLean sank another layup but would be subbed out minutes later after receiving two personal fouls within the first four minutes. Senior guard Chad DiCenzo and junior guard Max Davis were substituted in and made an immediate impact, with a DiCenzo three and a Davis layup pushing the score to 9-5. 

Waterhouse showed off his athleticism with a powerful dunk, followed by DiCenzo and senior guard Nate Martin with a couple of two-pointers while on their tear. 

“Our team is best when we are in the transition,” DiCenzo said after the game. “We ran in transition and got stops. When we do that, no one can stop us.”

The 18-point run would come to an end after MIT was rewarded two chances from the free-throw line from a senior center Houston personal foul. The Engineers would sink both of them making the score 20-7

The teams traded trips to the free-throw line throughout the first half, with the Lions edging out the Engineers on each possession. Emerson led 50-31 heading into the locker room. Martin led the team in scoring with nine points with Dicenzo, Davis, Waterhouse, and Houston following with eight. Waterhouse said the team was able to connect with each other on the court.

“We were passing the ball really well,” he said. “We’re moving it from side to side, getting up and pressuring them and getting them to move up and down a lot… It’s our style.”

The second half opened with the teams trading shots. Davis sank a layup and a three while Houston got two layups. MIT scored two threes and two layups in response. A DiCenzo layup extended the Lions’ lead to 73-46, which would be their largest lead of the night. 

The Engineers would rain threes on the Lions to close the gap to 14, but when the score reached its closest point in over 20 minutes, Waterhouse would make a mid-range jumper and what would have been his third dunk of the game.

Instead, the score was taken away on a disputed technical call, as he was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after the dunk—a referee decision met with boos from the crowd. 

Waterhouse said he believed it should have counted but he used the energy to his advantage.

“I guess that’s basketball,” he said after the game. “I thought it could have been a foul too, but I should have just played through it and ran back. In my freshman year, I dunked on a kid and I pointed at them, so that’s kind of what I do… it was kind of extra antics. I didn’t need to be there but I [was] in the heat of the moment.”

With three minutes left, he would eventually get his third throwing it down with one arm—to the delight of the crowd in the Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker Gym.

“I feed off that energy,” he said. 

The Engineers managed to bring the score down to a nine-point deficit with 16 seconds to play, but it was too little too late for MIT.

Houston led the scoring totals with 24 points and 17 rebounds. Waterhouse, who scored 20, said the team usually performs well when Houston is on his game.

“Jarred had a huge night,” he said. “We feed off that energy that he brings. Whenever he comes to play, we’re all gonna come to play.”

DiCenzo shot a career-high of 14 points. During his career at Emerson, he had battled with injuries and felt his performance tonight was an accumulation of his hard work to get back into form. With his impending graduation, he said it will be tough to let go of the game.

“It’s definitely emotional for me,” DiCenzo said. “I’ve been injured most of my career. I had an Achilles injury, hip injury, and appendix. So saying goodbye to basketball can be pretty sad.”

The Lions’ next match-up will be a home game against Wheaton College this Saturday. It will be their last game of the regular season as well as the team’s Senior Day.