Claremont, Calif. – With four players in double digits, including 18 from senior KJ Garrett in his first game of the season, the Tufts men's basketball team earned a 77-75 win over Pomona Pitzer on Thursday afternoon. The game was the first of two the Jumbos are playing out on the west coast over the holiday break.
|KJ Garrett turned in 18 points in his first game of the season.|
With the win Tufts moves to 8-3 on the season and have won their last five. Pomona-Pitzer is now 2-9 this year.
The Sagehens got out to a quick start scoring the first 11 points of the game before the Jumbos were able to get on the board with two from sophomore Patrick Racy. About five minutes into the game and down by 11, the Jumbos started their comeback. Back-to-back layups freshman Luke Rogers were followed by a layup and a made free throw from senior captain Vincent Pace to bring the Jumbos within seven. Garrett then made a three and added a layup about 30 seconds later to bring the Jumbos within two, 19-17. Garrett would turn in a game-tying dunk with 10:47 left in the half to lock things at 19.
A Pomona-Pitzer layup from Adam Rees, followed by back-to-back layups from Daniel Rosenbaum gave the Sagehens a seven point lead with just over eight minutes left in the half. Two free throws from sophomore Eric Savage brought the Jumbos within five, but a three from Jack Boyle, a layups from Micah Elan and Rosenbaum put the Sagehens up by ten with 4:43 left in the half.
The Jumbos found themselves down eight with 2:50 left in the half. A layup from Racy, followed by a three from sophomore Miles Bowser brought the Jumbos within three and a layup from Garrett cut the Sagehen lead to one, 42-41. Elan made a free throw for the Sagehens at the end of the half to help the home team take a two-point advantage, 43-41, into the break.
Garrett led the Jumbos with 12 first half points and Pace turned in eight of his own. For the Sagehens, Rosenbaum had 14 first half points while Corbin Koch helped with 11.
The two teams would trade points to open the second half, and Garrett tied things at 52 with a layup with 13:28 left in the game. Twenty five seconds later he added another to give the Jumbos their first lead of the night, 54-52. Things were close for the rest of the second half.
Pomona-Pitzer was up by five, 75-70, with 1:49 left in the game when the Jumbos got a three from Pace to come within two. Pace then made two free throws with 40 seconds left in the game to lock the score at 75. Freshman Justin Kouyoumdjian came up with a clutch steal on the Sagehen's next possession and he made two free throws down on the other end to give the Jumbos the 77-75 lead with four seconds left on the clock. The Sagehens managed to get a shot off, but it didn't fall and the Jumbos came away with the 77-75 win.
Pace's 19 points led Jumbo scorers and he also added six rebounds to his night. Garrett finished with eight points, six rebounds and three steals. He was playing in his first game of the season after missing the first semester because of an injury. Savage turned in 11 points and five rebounds with two steals. Rogers was the last Jumbo in double-digit points with ten points and six rebounds. The Jumbos got 37 points off the bench.
Rosenbaum led all Sagehen scorers with 22 points and six rebounds, as Koch finished with 22 points and Elan tallied 14 points and six boards. Adam Rees was the rebound leader with nine, and he also added seven points.
The Jumbos are back in action Friday night at Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with a 7 pm start time. Pomona-Pitzer plays again on Monday, January 1 when they host Redlands for a 7 pm tip-off.