Final Dispatch from Taiwan: MIT B-Ball Triumphs—Again—at Taiwan Invitational

by Amy Marcott on June 3, 2010 · 0 comments

in Athletics, Student Life, Travel

Guest bloggers: Bob Ferrara ’67 and Indran Ratnathicam ’98

MIT point guard Mitchell Kates ’13 applies full-court pressure in the championship game against Taiwan Physical Education College. TPEC boasts many fine athletes on a campus that is projected to be the main center of athletics and sports science in Taiwan. Note the packed stands. The final was standing room only!

MIT point guard Mitchell Kates ’13 applies full-court pressure in the championship game against Taiwan Physical Education College. TPEC boasts many fine athletes on a campus that is projected to be the main center of athletics and sports science in Taiwan. Note the packed stands. The final was standing room only!

The MIT team rose to the challenge and are the champions of the 5th Annual Kainan University Invitational. In the finals, they outlasted, by 98-81, a very athletic group from Taipei Physical Education College. Like MIT, TPEC had convincing wins over the other three teams in their bracket, so the final game was again a contest between the two best teams in the tournament, just like back in 2006 when MIT won the initial Kainan Invitational.

Larry Anderson and our coaches were very concerned about TPEC’s overall athleticism and two excellent guards, who could slash or shoot threes with equal ease. So they had MIT do something a bit unusual, going with full-court pressure from the outset. This was not a full-court press, where traps are set for the opponent’s ball handler, but full-court pressure, where every player picked up their man in the backcourt. This tactic cost TPEC extra time to get into an offense and moreover wore them down as the game progressed, with Coach Anderson keeping our guys fresh by substituting frequently from the deeper MIT bench. At the end of the first quarter, MIT was up by just two, expanding the lead to 15 by halftime. By the third quarter, the pressure was getting to TPEC and MIT opened up a 20+ point lead, and then managed to control the game to its conclusion.

Hundreds of students lined up for autographs by the players from MIT and other participating teams. That’s guard Jimmy Burke ’13 in the right foreground, with forward Bill Bender ’12 beyond him. Our guys enjoyed their moment in the sun and have since returned to the typical anonymity of MIT basketball players.

Hundreds of students lined up for autographs by the players from MIT and other participating teams. That’s guard Jimmy Burke ’13 in the right foreground, with forward Bill Bender ’12 beyond him. Our guys enjoyed their moment in the sun and have since returned to the typical anonymity of MIT basketball players.

The championship game was followed by a spirited celebration and a nice closing ceremony. Hundreds of student fans swarmed the Yong Yu Gymnasium floor after the game, looking to shake hands or take a picture with the players. These fans certainly had done their part, cheering wildly for both sides throughout. The play-by-play announcer was a local celebrity and clearly knew how to keep people engaged. During breaks between periods, he staged a variety of audience participation games, often using outrageous props and handpicking fans or even a player to participate. In fact, in one contest involving knocking down oversized bowling pins, MIT’s own senior guard Pat Sissman ’10 was victorious.

In the last dispatch, we mentioned how the 24-second clock used in international games contributes to a very high-scoring, fast-paced game. In the opening round game against a smaller Hsuan Chang University team, our MIT team dropped in three pointers and fast-break points with abandon. A check of the record books revealed that their 123 points tied a twenty-year-old record for most points scored by an MIT team. In the next day’s match against Kyushu, our guys were almost as hot, totaling 114 points.

More action on the court.

MIT applied full-court pressure to beat their opponents.

The MIT team represented themselves well on and off the court. Along with players from the other teams, they participated in extracurricular events organized by our Kainan hosts. These included a hugely entertaining talent show, an autograph signing session, and an extended day trip to Taiwan’s scenic northeast coast. All of this made for an incredible learning experience for every one of us. Fifth-year senior Bill Johnson had a very special vantage point, since he was the only team member who also played here in 2006. Impressed with the vitality and industry of the Taiwan he saw on the first trip, Bill—a political science major—wrote his senior topic on how the growing trade with the mainland is affecting the unique relationship of the “two Chinas.” (Like the mainland, Taiwan is an industrial powerhouse, thanks in no small part to MIT alum Morris Chang ’52, now a life member of the MIT Corporation. Mr. Chang is the founder and chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor, the largest silicon foundry in the world.)

Another veteran of both trips (and both cultures) is Alice Yeh ’09. In 2006 Alice, then a freshman on the MIT women’s basketball varsity, was heading home to visit family in Taiwan when she serendipitously met the MIT team at Logan Airport. With her knowledge of Mandarin and local customs, she quickly became an integral part of the MIT group. Alice is now living in Taipei and was again able to be a part of this year’s adventure.

This remarkable trip was a fitting finale to the most successful single season in MIT men’s basketball history. There is more to come next year, as we celebrate the 110th anniversary of MIT basketball. We would love to see you at an MIT game next season, as this year’s exciting team adds even more experience and depth. Here are two important dates for your calendar:

  • Saturday, February 19, 2011—the biannual Alumni Weekend at Rockwell Cage
  • Sunday, April 10, 2011—MIT’s 150th birthday gala in the new Boston Convention Center, preceded by a special event commemorating milestone anniversaries of men’s basketball and several other sports.

Cheers,

Bob and Indran

Related
Read Dispatch from Taiwan #1

Read Dispatch from Taiwan #2

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