Men's Basketball Comes From Behind in Second Half to Win 71-67 at Emerson

BOSTON - Down 16 at the half, the Tufts University men's basketball team battled back to take a 71-67 non-conference victory at Emerson College on Wednesday night. Senior co-captain Vincent Pace, who led the Jumbos with 30 points, hit a game-tying three and then the go-ahead lay-up with 44 seconds left in regulation.

Vincent Pace hit both the game-tying and winning shots

After Pace's lay-up gave Tufts a 69-67 lead, Emerson missed a shot with Pace grabbing the rebound. Jumbo senior co-captain Everett Dayton added a free throw for a 70-67 advantage with 20 seconds on the clock. The Lions' Jack O'Connor missed a three-pointer rebounded by Pace again with five seconds to go. The teams combined to miss five consecutive free throws in the final four seconds before Jumbo senior Thomas Lapham wrapped things up with a freebie that made for the 71-67 final.

Host Emerson (5-3) had taken a 42-26 halftime lead on the strength of 14 points and seven rebounds by junior Geoffrey Gray in the first half. The Lions used a 16-3 run to gain an early 26-13 lead. Senior Michael Sheng and junior Will Lantier both had six points during the stretch and Gray added four.

The Jumbos (5-3) kept Emerson scoreless for the first 4:44 of the second half while getting seven points from sophomore Eric Savage to close within 42-33. A three by Pace narrowed the Lions' lead to 44-38 and the Jumbos would get to five points (54-49) on a tip-in by freshman Max Oppenheim at the 9:43 mark.

Emerson scored the next eight points to build their margin back up to 13 points at 62-49 on a three-pointer by senior Jared Jackson. Tufts responded again, chipping away until a three by Pace capped an 18-5 Jumbo run that tied the score 67-67 with 1:36 on the second-half clock. Pace's game-tying three came after Dayton rebounded a Jumbo free throw miss and assisted on the trifecta.

The Tufts defense held Emerson without a basket in the final 3:21 of regulation, and without a point over the final 2:41 of play. The Jumbos outscored the Lions 22-5 over the final 8:16 to grab the victory. Tufts won the second half 45-25 overall. Pace had 23 points in the second half (10-14 FGs) and Savage had 15. Together, the pair scored 49 of Tufts' 71 points overall including 19 by Savage.

On Sunday, Pace hit a three at the buzzer to give Tufts a 76-74 win over Brandeis in the New England Big 4 Challenge. He finished 13 for 21 from the field tonight with five rebounds. Savage complemented his game with seven rebounds, while Dayton coralled a team-high 11 rebounds and had five assists.

Gray led Emerson with a double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds along with three assists. Sheng added 13 points with five rebounds, and O'Connor scored 10 points.

The Jumbos get right back at it tomorrow night at UMass-Boston in a 7 p.m. start. The Lions next play at Curry on Saturday (3 p.m.).

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