NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 1 Tufts 81, No. 8 Hamilton 63

NESCAC Quarterfinal: No. 1 Tufts 81, No. 8 Hamilton 63

Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information

MEDFORD, Mass. –  The Tufts men's basketball used a strong second half to pick up an 81-63 win over Hamilton in NESCAC Quarterfinal action in Cousens Gym on Saturday afternoon.  Junior Vincent Pace finished with 18 points, eight rebounds and four assists and senior tri-captain Tarik Smith added 17 points for the Jumbos in the win. 

Tufts improves to 20-5 on the season, and will advance to the NESCAC Semifinals next weekend.  As the top seed, the Jumbos maintian homecourt advantage and host NESCAC Semifinals and Championship games at Cousens Gym next Saturday (February 25) and Sunday (February 26). Hamilton finishes its season with a record of 16-9. 

Both teams got off to a slow start, but the Continentals were held scoreless for the first five minutes of the game. Kena Gilmour was able to get Hamilton on the scoreboard with a basket at the 14:26 mark of the first half. The Jumbos held the lead for the majority of the half. But the Continentals made a run late in the stanza to climb back into the game.

With 5:33 remaining in the half, Jack Dwyer's layup brought the Continentals within four, 23-19, and five points from Mark Lutz closed the score to one, 25-24. A 3-pointer by Michael Grassey with 2:44 left in the half gave the Hamilton its first lead of the game. But, three free throws from Smith put Tufts back on top, 28-27. The two teams traded the lead, but a jumper from Pace with three seconds left on the clock gave the Jumbos the 31-29 lead going into the half. 

Coming out of the half, Pace made a layup on the first possession for Tufts to give the Jumbos a 33-29 advantage. A minute later Hamilton's Tim Doyle was fouled, but only made one of two free throws to bring the visitors within one, 33-32, with just over 18 minutes remaining in the game. The Continentals answered with a three from Kyle Pitman to tie the game at 35-35. 

Tufts pushed back out in front, 43-37, with 14:34 to play behind a steal, layup and free throw from junior Everett Dayton and a basket by Eric Savage.

Grassey made two free throws and Peter Hoffman added a basket to bring the visitors within two, 43-41. But, back-to-back dunks from junior KJ Garrett gave the Jumbos a 47-41 leadone they would not relinquish as they went on to post an 81-63 victory.

Sophomore Ethan Feldman turned in 15 points including a perfect 3-for-3 from downtown and Dayton finished with 12 points, eight rebounds and three assists for the Jumbos. 

Hamilton was led by 10 points each from Hoffmann and Pitman. Lutz finished with a team-high eight rebounds. Doyle, Dwyer, Grasse and Vincent Conn all added eight points for the visitors.