Big Second Half Pushes No. 21 Hamilton Past Men's Basketball Saturday Afternoon

MEDFORD – The No. 21 Hamilton men's basketball team used a strong second half to pick up a 74-57 NESCAC win over the Tufts men's basketball team in Cousens Gym on Saturday afternoon.  

Eric Savage led all scorers with 16 points on Saturday. 

With the setback the Jumbos are now 16-7 overall and 5-4 in NESCAC games this year.  Hamilton improves to 19-2 overall and 6-2 in NESCAC tilts. 

Both teams struggled a bit offensively in the first half.  The first seven shots of the game didn't fall, and senior Vincent Pace finally put some points on the board with a layup over two minutes into the game. The two teams traded baskets a bit, and with things locked at ten with 14:08 remaining the Continentals got a three from Vince Conn to take the lead.  Conn added a layup on Hamilton's next possession to increase the lead to five.  

Sophomore Eric Savage drained a three with 12:20 remaining in the half to cut the lead and that was the way most of the first half would go.  Hamilton led by as many as six, but the Jumbos constantly chipped away at that.  The Continentals took a 29-25 advantage into the break. 

Pace led first half scorers for the Jumbos with nine points and Conn had nine to lead the Continentals as well.  The Jumbos shot just 21.4% during the first half, compared to the Continentals 38.5%.  The two teams combined for 22 turnovers in the first half (12 for Hamilton and 10 on the Jumbos end). 

The Continentals got two early free throws from Michael Grassey to increase their lead to six, but the Jumbos chipped away at that right away.  Sophomore Miles Bowser made two free throws, and then sophomore Eric Savage made a layup and the free throw after to cut the lead to one, 31-30, about two minutes into the second half.  But, Hamilton answered with a layup from Peter Hoffman and then a layup and a made free throw from Tim Doyle to increase their lead to six again. 

A three from Savage with 14:21 left in the game brought the Jumbos with one, but the Continentals scored nine unanswered to increase their lead to ten with 12:13 left in the game.  The Jumbos answered with a jumper from Pace, and then a free throw from Pace and a layup from Bowser cut the lead to five with 11:21 to play. But, the Continentals scored five unanswered to increase their lead to ten again, and they would command the rest of the second half.  The visitors led by as many as 17 late in the game as they picked up the 74-57 win. 

Savage led all Jumbo scorers with a game-high 16 points and nine rebounds.  Pace added 12 points, six rebounds and three assists.  Lapham finished with ten points and five rebounds.  The Jumbos struggled offensively, shooting just 24.1% on the day.  They did attempt 32 free throws, the most they have attempted this season, and shot 78.1% from the line, their highest free throw percentage since they shot 83.3% percent against Brandeis (5-for-6) in early December. The 25 free throws they made today was the most made this season, and the most they have made since their season opener during the 2016-17 season when they made 32 against FDU-Florham.  

Hamilton had four in double-digits, as Doyle was the leader with 15 points and three steals.  Hoffman added 11 points and six rebounds while Andrew Groll and Kena Gilmour each added ten points and nine rebounds.  Grassey finished with eight points and ten rebounds.  The Continentals attempted 33 free throws on the day, as the two teams combined to attempt 65 free throws during the contest.

Tufts is back in action next Sunday they host Trinity in their regular season finale at 2 pm in Cousens Gym.  Hamilton plays again this coming Friday when they host No. 6 Middlebury with a 7 pm scheduled start.