Strong Second Half Gives Men's Basketball 71-63 Win Over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps

CLAREMONT, Calif. -  The Tufts men's basketball team overcame a slow start in the first half with a strong second half to take a 71-63 win over Claremont-Mudd-Scripps on the road on Friday night.  The game completes the Jumbos west coast trip, as they picked up a win over Ponoma-Pitzer on Thursday night. 

Vincent Pace turned his fourth double-double of the season.

The win helps the Jumbos improve to 9-3 this season, and they have won their last six.  The Stags fall to 3-7 with the setback. 

The Jumbos got out to a slow start as the Stags were up 11-2 early in the game.  Senior Vincent Pace made a three with 15:52 left in the half to bring the Jumbos within seven, 14-7, but then neither team would score for the next two minutes, after which Pace added two more points to bring the Jumbos within five, 14-9, with just under 14 minutes left in the half. 

A three from senior captain Thomas Lapham with 8:38 left cut the Stag lead to three, and then sophomore Eric Savage tied things at 19 with a three of his own with 7:42 left in the half. The Stags took a four-point lead thanks to a couple layups, but two free throws from Lapham and then one from Savage brought the Jumbos within one, 27-26, with 3:42 remaining. A jumper from Savage with 1:59 on the clock gave the Jumbos their first lead of the night, 28-27.  The Stags responded with a jumper from Kendrick Morris just 20 seconds later, and that gave them a 29-28 lead to take into the break. 

Savage was the point leader in the first half for the Jumbos with 12.  Pace turned in seven points and five rebounds in the first half. For the Stags, Morris was the offensive leader with 10 points and five rebounds and Miles President helped with six points. Both teams struggled shooting a bit in the first half, as the Jumbos shot 25% from the floor and the Stags were only a little better at 41.% in the first half. The Jumbos did out rebound the Stags in the first half with 25 to the Stags 19, and ten of those 25 were offensive rebounds. 

The Stags came out and scored the first two baskets of the second half to take a five-point lead.  But, Tufts responded with a three from senior captain Everett Dayton to come within two, 33-31 and then freshman Luke Rogers tied the game at 33 with his first points of the night. The two teams traded points a bit, and with things locked at 35 the Jumbos got eight unanswered points from senior KJ Garrett to take a 45-37 lead with 12:23 remaining in the game. That was followed by two from sophomore Pat Racy, and then two from Pace to increase the Jumbos lead to 12, 49-37. 

Claremont-Mudd-Scripps finally stopped the scoring streak with two free throws from Jeremy Horn to cut the lead to ten. The Stags got close, cutting the leading to five thanks to a layup from Michael Scarlett with 2:47 to go. But, the Jumbos responded with a three from senior Everett Dayton to take their lead back up to eight.  

Down by six with 40 seconds to go, Scarlett got off a three but missed, and Savage made two free throws on the other end to bring the lead back up to eight, 67-59.  After a quick three from Scott Lynds to bring the home team within five, but Pace made both of his free throws after being fouled, and the Jumbos held on to win, 71-63. 

Savage finished with 18 points and seven rebounds for the Jumbos, while Pace added 16 points and 13 rebounds.  Garrett added 12 points, and both Lapham and Dayton finished with eight.  Rogers added three points and ten rebounds to the game. The Jumbos shot the ball much better in the second half, shooting 51.9%.  They also outrebounded the Stags 24-9 in the second half. 

Morris led the Stags with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Scarlett finished with 14 points.  Horn turned in eight points off the bench for the Stags. 

Tufts is back in action on January 5 when they open up NESCAC play and host Colby for a 7 pm start.  Claremont-Mudd-Scripps will be back in action on January 3 when they host La Verne with a scheduled 7 pm start.