Men's Basketball Edged By Hamilton in NESCAC Quarterfinal Play

Parts of this recap courtesy of Hamilton College
 
CLINTON, N.Y - Despite 22 points and 11 rebounds from senior Vincent Pace the seventh seeded Tufts men's basketball team wasn't able to complete the comeback and fell to third seeded Hamilton in the NESCAC Quarterfinals at Hamilton on Saturday afternoon.  
 
Vincent Pace turned another double-double for the Jumbos Saturday.
The Continentals (22-3 overall) -- ranked 15th in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll and No. 1 in the NCAA Northeast Region rankings -- advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time since they joined the NESCAC for basketball in 2011-12. Third-seeded Hamilton will take on No. 2 seed Williams College in a semifinal at Amherst College on Saturday, Feb. 24. Top seed Amherst will play No. 4 seed Wesleyan University in the other semifinal. The Continentals finished the regular season in a five-way tie for first place in the conference standings.
 
Neither team led by more than eight points in a tightly contested first half that had five ties and six lead changes. The Continentals went up by eight for the first time at 41-33 on a Gilmour layup with 2:01 left. Hoffmann made it 43-35 on a basket in the paint with 1:32 remaining and his buzzer-beater in the lane sent Hamilton to the locker room with a 45-37 advantage. Pace had 13 points and Garrett added 11 for the Jumbos in the first half. Gilmour led the Continentals with 15 points and Hoffmann had 14 in the opening 20 minutes.
 
A layup by Grassey 89 seconds after the break gave Hamilton its biggest lead of 12 points at 52-40. Tufts clawed back with a 17-4 run that covered the next 6:31. Savage and Everett Dayton made layups, Garrett dropped in a pair of free throws and Justin Kouyoumdjian cut the Continentals' lead to four points with another basket in the paint.
 
Hamilton momentarily stopped the bleeding as Kendall put back his own miss and Hoffmann scored on a drive to the basket. Patrick Racy followed with a jumper and Dayton knocked down a 3-pointer that pulled Tufts within 56-53. Layups by Racy and Savage capped the spurt and put the Jumbos up 57-56 with 12:00 to go. During the next six minutes, there were four lead changes and neither team led by more than five points.
 
After a Pace jumper tied Tufts' largest lead of three points at 75-72 with 6:08 left, the Continentals responded with a 17-4 run that covered nearly the next six minutes.
 
Grassey kicked off the spurt with an offensive rebound and putback, and Gilmour put Hamilton up for good at 76-75 after he grabbed a Grassey miss and banked in the follow-up shot with 4:53 remaining. Gilmour followed with a steal and fast-break layup and, after a turnover by the Jumbos, Hoffmann spun into the lane and scored to make it 80-75 with 4:25 to go.
 
A 3-pointer by Lapham pulled Tufts within two at 80-78 and Hoffmann and Savage made one free throw apiece to make it 81-79 with 3:02 left. A little more than a minute later, Groll found Gilmour open at the top of the key and he swished the 3-pointer. Hoffmann canned a jumper with just under a minute remaining, Gilmour went 1-for-2 at the line, and he clinched the history-making victory by making two free throws for an 89-79 cushion with 25 seconds to go.
 
Gilmour's double-double was his fourth this season and he was one of three Hamilton players with one in this quarterfinal. Peter Hoffmann poured in 25 points, tied a career high with 11 boards and handed out five assists. Michael Grassey chipped in 10 points and grabbed a career-best 14 rebounds. Spencer Kendall and Andrew Groll added nine and eight points, respectively, off the bench. Hamilton held a 50-39 advantage on the glass.
 
Pace boasted a double-double with 22 points and 11 rebounds for Tufts (17-8). Eric Savage scored 18 points and KJ Garrett had 16. Thomas Lapham dished out a game-high six assists.
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