MEDFORD – Seniors Vincent Pace and Everett Dayton turned in 22 points each as the Tufts men’s basketball team opened NESCAC play in Cousens Gym on Friday night and picked up a 94-83 win over visiting Colby.
The Jumbos improve to 10-3 on the season and are 1-0 in NESCAC play. Colby drops to 7-4 with the loss and they are 0-1 in NESCAC games this year.
Both the Mules and the Jumbos traded points and the lead early, and with things tied at 13 about five minutes into the first half, senior Thomas Lapham sunk a three that gave the Jumbos the 16-13 lead. They would not trail after that.
Pace followed that three with a layup, and after a Colby layup from Sean Gilmore, Pace added another layup and a made free throw after to give the Jumbos the 21-15 advantage. The Jumbos lead by 11 with just about 12 minutes remaining in the half, when the Mules made a comeback. Wallace Tucker made two free throws, and Sean Jefferson added a layup. That was followed by a layup from Tucker, and then two from Pat Dickert brought the Mules within three, 33-30 with 9:25 left in the half.
A jumper from sophomore Miles Bowser stopped the streak of eight unanswered Mule points, but then Jefferson added another layup and made the free throw after to cut the Jumbos lead to two, 35-33. But, that would be as close as Colby would get, as Tufts then scored 11 unanswered of their own to increase their lead. Tufts took the 50-36 advantage into the break.
The Mules were once again able to cut the lead a bit at the beginning of the second half. With the Jumbos up, 56-41, Colby got back-to-back threes from Tucker. After a Jumbo layup from sophomore Patrick Racy, the visitors scored eight points to cut the Jumbo lead to five, 58-53, about four minutes into the second half.
With the Jumbos up by five with 15:31 left in the game, a layup from sophomore Eric Savage was followed by a three and a layup from Pace. After a layup by the Mules’ Gilmore, Dayton added a three for the Jumbos to increase their lead to 13 with just over 12 minutes left in the game. They would hold on to that lead for the 94-83 win.
Pace finished with 22 points and 12 rebounds along with four assists. Dayton added 22 points, a season high for him, along with six rebounds and three assists. Savage turned in 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and freshman Luke Rogers added five points and seven boards off the bench. Freshman Justin Kouyoumdjian scored 11 points off the bench for the Jumbos.
The Mules had four players in double-digits. Tucker was the point leader with 19 points and six assists. Weiner added 17 points and ten rebounds and Gilmore finished with 13 points. Jefferson was the fourth Mule in double-digits with ten points.
The Jumbos are back in action Saturday when they host Bowdoin for a 3 pm start. The Mules will travel to Bates for a 3 pm game tomorrow as well.