No. 6 Men's Basketball Falls to No. 9 WashU in Championship Game of Lopata Classic

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – The No. 6 Tufts men's basketball team erased an 18 point deficit with less than ten minutes left in the game, but they weren't able to complete the comeback as the Jumbos fell to No. 9 WashU, 98-94, in the championship game of the Lopata Classic.  

Pat Racy finished with a career-high 20 points on Saturday night.

The Jumbos (1-1) started tournament play with a win over Webster on Friday night and the host Bears (2-0) took on Wabash.  Webster picked up an overtime 93-91 win in the consolation game of tournament play before the Bears and the Jumbos played in the tournament championship game. 

The Jumbos had a little trouble scoring in the beginning, and the Bears scored the first 11 points of the game.  Sophomore Pat Racy put the Jumbos on the board, and Tufts worked to come back. Down 20-9 the Jumbos got two from sophomore Eric Savage, followed by a three from freshman Justin Kouyoumdjian to cut the Bear lead to single digits.  

Just under halfway through the period the Jumbos were down 24-14 and got a three from freshman Will Brady.  After two from the Bears' Matt Nester, the Jumbos got two from Savage, followed by two points from Racy and then a three from freshman Brennan Morris to come within six, 30-24.  After a layup from senior Vincent Pace, WashU's Jake Knupp converted on one of two free throws and the Jumbos pulled within two, 31-28, thanks to a bucket from Racy. 

But, the Bears then scored nine unanswered to take a 40-28 advantage, and they were able to hold on to that lead to go into the break with a 46-35 lead.  At the half Racy led all Jumbo scorers with eight while Savage and Kouyoumdjian each turned in six. Savage led the first half rebounding efforts with eight. 

The Jumbos cut the Bear's lead a bit at the start of the second half.  About three minutes into play Tufts came within six, 54-48, thanks to a three from Savage.  But, the Bear's answered with a three of their own, and WashU grew their lead a bit. With just over ten minutes left in the game WashU led by 18, 78-60, but that would be the largest their lead would get. 

With just under nine minutes left in the game Racy started the comeback for the Jumbos.  Three in a row from the center, followed by a three from Savage got the Jumbos within seven, 82-75.  With just over six minutes left in the game, Racy added two more points and then Kouyoumdjian came up clutch with a three that brought the Jumbos within two, 82-80 with just under six minutes left to play. The streak of 14 unanswered points for the Jumbos was broken when Andrew Sanders made both free throws with five minutes left on the clock to move the Bear's lead to four again, 84-80.  

The Bear's lead would stay right around there, and the Jumbos were looking for a way to tie the game with under a minute left to go.  With 22 seconds left on the clock and the Bear's up 96-91, Pace drained a three to bring the visitors within two 96-94. But, Kevin Kucera made both free throws after being fouled, and Savage missed a three that would have brought Tufts within one.  WashU held on for the 98-94 win.

Savage led the Jumbos scoring efforts with 21 points and ten rebounds, along with eight assits.  Racy finished with a career-high 20 points and seven rebounds and Pace tallied 15 points four boards and five assists.  Kouyoumdjian turned in nine points off the bench, and Bowser finished with eight points and six boards. 

Kucera led the scoring for the Bears with 21 points and ten assists.  Matt Highsmith added 20 points and eight boards and Sanders also had 20 points with seven rebounds.  

The Jumbos will be back in action on Tuesday, with their home opener against MIT at 7 pm in Cousens Gym. The Bears play again on Tuesday with a trip to Principia for a 7 pm start.