February 4, 2014

Jumbos Charge Past Corsairs, 73-54

MEDFORD, Mass. – The Tufts University men's basketball team used a 15-2 run that spanned the final minute of the first half and into the fourth minute of the second stanza to earn a 73-54 victory over the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth this evening at Cousens Gymnasium.

The Jumbos improved to 11-9, while the Corsairs fell to 12-8.

The freshman backcourt combination of Ryan Walsh (North Dighton, Mass.) and Tucker Bouchard (Kingston, Mass.) combined to score 27 points to lead the visitors. Walsh registered a team-high 14 points, on 6-for-11 from the floor, while Bouchard produced 13 points, including 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. Sophomore Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) netted seven points and pulled in a game-high 13 boards.

Junior Ben Ferris (Essex Junction, Vt.) posted a double-double with a game-high 18 points and 12 rebounds to pace three Tufts student-athletes in double digits in scoring. Senior Kwame Firempong (Los Angeles, Calif.) contributed 15 points, while sophomore Stephen Haladyna (South Hamilton, Mass.) chipped in with 12 points. Senior Oliver Cohen (Lower Merion, Pa.) piloted the Jumbo attack with five points and five assists.

The Jumbos charged out of the gates, scoring the first nine points of the contest.  Andrew Dowton cracked the scoring column for the hosts, while Ferris recorded five consecutive points.  Haladyna added a pair from the foul line before junior Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) put the visitors on the board with a layup.  Tufts would continue to apply the offensive pressure, building its lead to 14 points (20-6) after Ryan Spadaford drained a triple. 

Facing its largest deficit of the half, UMass Dartmouth began to chip away as Walsh knocked down a 3-pointer followed by a jumper to make it a nine-point game.  The Corsairs were able to trim their deficit to four points when Laga and sophomore Abi Akanni (Fitchburg, Mass.) sandwiched 3-pointers between a Steven Handy layup with two minutes, 02 seconds left in the frame.  The visitors would not get any closer as the Jumbos closed the half with a mini 5-0 run to take a 39-30 advantage into the locker room.

Tufts carried its late momentum into the second half, registering eight of the next 10 points, to seize control of the contest.  The hosts would not let their lead dip below double figures for the remainder of the game, increasing their advantage to a game-high 25 points (73-48) with less than three minutes remaining in regulation.    

The Corsairs shot 30.2 percent (19-for-63) from the field, including 45.5 percent (5-for-11) from behind the 3-point arc. Tufts connected on 38.6 percent (22-for-57) from the floor and 72.4 percent (21-for-29) from the foul line. The Jumbos held a 46-40 edge on the boards.

UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 3 p.m. on Saturday, February 8, when the Corsairs host the University of Southern Maine in a Little East men's basketball contest.