|Junior Amauris Quezada had 11 points, five assists and three steals in the Tufts win
BABSON PARK - All five Tufts University starters scored in double figures and junior Alex Orchowski (Cornwall, NY) added 22 rebounds to power the Jumbos to an 80-71 win over Salem State University in the opening round of the second annual New England Big 4 Men's Basketball Challenge at Babson College on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Tufts (3-2) advances to Sunday's championship game at 3 pm, while the Vikings (2-2) will play in the consolation game at 1 pm. Host Babson and Brandeis University will meet in Saturday's second semifinal matchup.
Orchowski was a monster in the paint for Tufts, scoring 13 points on 6 of 12 shooting while grabbing a game-high 22 boards and blocking three shots. He was joined in double-figures by sophomores Alex Goldfarb (New York, NY) and Scott Anderson (Sudbury, MA), who each finished with 18 points and four rebounds, freshman Oliver Cohen (Penn Valley, PA), who added 10 points and dished out six assists, and junior Amauris Quezada (New York, NY), who scored 11 points to go with five assists and three steals. The Jumbos turned the ball over 24 times in the contest, but made up for it with a commanding 43-28 rebound advantage, including 17 caroms off the offensive glass.
Salem State was led by junior Tristian Shannon (Andover, MA), who finished with 15 points, seven boards and two blocks. Junior Brian Clark (Deerfield, MA) chipped in with 11 points and two steals, sophomore Justin Nieves (Lawrence, MA) added 10 points and three assists, and senior Nick Linear (Salem, MA) contributed eight points and four steals.
Tufts led throughout the contest, opening with a 15-4 run and eventually going up by as many as 12 at 23-11 with nine minutes left in the first half. The Vikings fought back with a 12-4 run that featured four points apiece by Linear and Shannon to get to within four, 27-23, with 6:46 left in the period, but the Jumbos responded with a 12-6 burst that featured six straight points from Anderson to go back up 12 with 1:35 remaining.
Sophomore Nate Simpson (Lowell, MA) then knocked down a jumper to cut Salem State's deficit back to 10, but Orchowski put back his own miss as the buzzer sounded, giving Tufts a 41-31 edge heading into the break.
The Jumbos increased their advantage to as many as 15 midway through the second half, and still led by as many as 14 following a Goldfarb lay-up that made it 72-58 with 4:10 remaining in the contest. Salem State then made one final push to get back into the game, embarking on an 11-2 burst that culminated with two Nieves free throws to get to within five, 74-69, with 1:25 left. However, Cohen knocked down four straight foul shots on Tufts' next two possessions and Anderson added two more with 24 seconds left as the Jumbos came away with the 80-71 victory.
Game release courtesy of Babson College