BABSON PARK, Mass. – Sophomore Brennan Morris turned in a career-high 29 points and his first career double-double, and the Tufts men's basketball team erased a 14-point second half deficit, but they weren't able to complete the comeback and fell to Salem State, 90-84, in the New England Big Four Challenge.
|Twenty nine points and 10 rebounds gave Brennan Morris his first career double-double|
The Jumbos are now 2-4 this season. Salem State improves to 3-5 with the win. In the tournament's opening rounds of play Tufts took on Babson and Salem State fell to Brandeis.
The first half on Sunday was about as close as it could get. The Jumbo scored the first two baskets of the game with a layup from sophomore Luke Rogers and then a layup from junior co-captain Eric Savage. That would be as big of a lead either team would have in the half. The Vikings quickly tied it up with layups from Sean Bryan and Chris MacDonald.
The game was tied three times and the lead changed eight times in the next ten minutes. With the score locked at 25 with just over 4:30 left in the half the Jumbos got a three from Morris, and after a Viking layup, freshman Tyler Aronson turned in a three of his own to give the Jumbos a four-point lead again, 31-27, with 3:47 left in the half.
The Vikings answered right back and took the lead again, and scored seven points in the last minute of the half to take a 41-35 lead into the half.
Out of the break the Vikings scored first, and they were able to build their lead a bit. Up by six with just under ten minutes left the in the game the Vikings got layups from Tyreik McCauley, and Sean Bryan, and then Bryan made two free throws to increase the lead to ten. Hakeem Animashaun turned in a layup, and then Fern Berard dunked and the Vikings were ahead by 14.
But, the Jumbos got things going offensively and got back in the game. Morris started it with two free throws and then Savage added a layup. After a Viking basket, Savage added a three to bring the Jumbos within nine, 72-63, with just under seven minutes left in the game. The two teams traded points and the Jumbos stayed right there. Down by eight with 1:46 left in the game the Jumbos got a three from freshman Eric DeBrine to come within five, 82-77, with just over a minute left in the game. After two Viking free throws, sophomore Justin Kouyoumdjian sunk a three of his own to bring the Jumbos within four, 84-80, with 1:23 left.
Bryan Martinez made a layup for the Vikings and then Morris made two free throws to bring the Jumbos back within four with 47 seconds left in the game. The Jumbos forced a huge untimely Viking turnover on their next possession and Savage brought the Jumbos within two, 86-84 with 28 seconds left on the clock.
The Jumbos fouled and sent Animashaun to the line, but he made both to bring the Viking lead back up to four, 88-84, with 26 seconds left. Kouyoumdjian got off a three on the Jumbos side of the court, but it just didn't fall and sophomore Will Brady got the offensive rebound but his layup didn't fall either. A quick foul again sent Matt McCune to the line this time for the Vikings and he made both to increase the lead to six. Salem State held on to the 90-84 win
Morris finished with 29 points, including seven threes, and also added ten rebounds for the first double-double of his career. Savage added a season-high 17 points and four rebounds. Rogers added 16 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks to the day. Kouyoumdjian finished with six points, four rebounds and four steals. DeBrine added seven points off the bench
Bryan was the scoring leader for the Vikings, racking up 28 points and adding nine rebounds and four assists. Animashaun finished with 22 points and 17 rebounds along with three blocks. McCauley turned in 12 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Vikings
The Jumbos play again on Wednesday when they host Emerson for a 7 pm start. The Vikings host MIT on Thursday with a 7:30 pm scheduled start.