DARTMOUTH, Mass. – University of Massachusetts Dartmouth senior Josh Castillo (Lynn, Mass.) saw his potential game-winning three-pointer from the right corner hit off the front rim as time expired to allow Tufts University to survive with a 77-75 victory this evening in a NCAA Division III men's basketball game inside the Tripp Athletic Center.
Trailing by two points with six seconds remaining in regulation, the Jumbos (10-9) attempted a baseball pass to break the Corsairs' (11-9) full-court defensive pressure, but senior John Genkos (Worcester, Mass.) was able to run down the feed. Genkos quickly pushed the ball up the court and found Castillo all alone in the corner.
Junior Jordan Rezendes (Onset, Mass.) led three players in double figures with 22 points, on 8-for-16 from the field, seven rebounds, and four assists. Classmate Wale Abraham (Lynn, Mass.) posted a double-double with 17 points and a team-high 10 boards, while Genkos scored all 15 of his points in the first frame. Senior Jake Laga (Northampton, Mass.) netted nine points and handed out a game-high seven assists.
Tufts utilized a well-balanced scoring attack as four student-athletes reached double digits in scoring. Sophomore Tom Palleschi (Haverhill, Mass.) scored 19 points, on 8-for-16 from the floor, while junior Stephen Haladyna (South Hamilton, Mass.) also poured in 19 points and pulled in nine rebounds. Sophomore Tarik Smith (Bronx, N.Y.) came off the bench to produce 15 points, while senior Ben Ferris (Essex Junction, Vt.) chipped in with 11.
The Jumbos matched their largest advantage of the contest, 72-65, with three minutes, 19 seconds remaining in regulation. UMass Dartmouth responded with a 7-0 run over the span of 59 seconds to forge a 72-all tie. Abraham ignited the surge with a lay-up, while Castillo converted a traditional three-point play. Abraham forced the eighth and final tie with a pair of freebies from the foul line.
Tufts regained its lead just one second later, when Ferris sank a pair from the charity stripe. Following a missed triple, the Jumbos extended their advantage with a Smith lay-up, which proved to be the game-winner.
The Corsairs used a 17-6 run to take their largest lead of the contest, 23-14, with 11 minutes remaining in the first half. Genkos started the run with back-to-back triples, while sophomore Jon Robinson (Chatham, Mass.) scored the final five points.
The Jumbos began to take control of the contest over the final 90 seconds of the first half, scoring the final four points to trim their deficit to 42-40 at the intermission. Tufts continued its momentum with a 13-4 run to start the second stanza, racing out a 53-46 lead. Ferris keyed the surge with six points, while Palleschi chipped in with four.
UMass Dartmouth countered with a 9-0 surge to take its final advantage of the contest, 61-58, with just under 10 minutes left on the clock. The Corsairs spread the scoring around as four different players contributed to the run. Laga closed the surge with his only three-pointer of the night.
The Corsairs shot 48.1 percent (26-for-54) from the field, 42.1 percent (8-for-19) from downtown and 71.4 percent (15-for-21) from the line.
Tufts connected on 45.2 percent (28-for-62) of its attempts from the floor, but used a decisive 40-29 advantage on the boards to create secondary scoring chances. The Jumbos' 15 offensive rebounds led to a 21-6 advantage in second-chance points.
UMass Dartmouth will return to action at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 7, when the Corsairs host Southern Maine. UMass Dartmouth will honor its 1,000-point scorers during a halftime banner raising ceremony.