|Tufts Advances to NESCAC Finals|
Third-Seeded Tufts Posts 88-75 Overtime Victory Over Second-Seeded Tufts
February 25, 2006
AMHERST, MA – The third-seeded Tufts University men’s basketball team battled its way to an 88-75 overtime victory over second-seeded Trinity College to advance to the NESCAC Tournament Championship, where the Jumbos will face the top-seeded and fifth-ranked Amherst College Lord Jeffs. This marks the first time in the six-year history of the tournament that Tufts has ever reached the NESCAC Championship. Gametime is set for noon with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament at stake.
Tufts junior David Shepherd (Grantham, NH) was the hero of the day, tallying a team-high 22 points, 11 rebounds and four assists, including the game-tying bucket to force the overtime session. He was also a flawless 11-for-11 from the charity stripe. Sophomore Jake Weitzen (New York, NY) matched Shepherds double-double with 21 points and 10 boards, while classmate Ryan O’Keefe (Everett, MA) and senior Dan Martin (Sandwich, MA) chipped in 19 and 15 points each. Junior Brian Kumf (Milford, MA) led an outstanding Tufts rebounding effort, hauling in 13 caroms as the Jumbos outrebounded the Bantams 56-35, including 21 offensive boards.
Junior Patrick Martin (Springfield, MA) paced Trinity with 24 points, while senior Tyler Rhoten (Ridgewood, NJ) finished with just 14 points and seven rebounds before fouling out with 2:25 left in the second half. Junior Kino Clarke (Brooklyn, NY) posted 12 points and five boards, and sophomore Russ Martin (E. Longmeadow, MA) chipped in 11 points and a team-high nine rebounds.
The Bantams held a slight advantage over the first six minutes of play, but Tufts knotted the score at 13-13 at the 12:39-mark and back-to-back threes from Shepherd and O’Keefe capped a 12-0 run to stretch the Jumbos’ lead. Trinity stalled Tufts’ offensive onslaught, but not for long, as the Jumbos pushed their advantage to 17 by the end of the half, 34-26.
Dan Martin punched the lead above 20 with consecutive scores to open the second frame, but Trinity would rally as the Bantams posted a 16-3 run to cut the lead to single digits, 53-46, with 13:20 left in regulation. Almost two minutes of scoreless basketball followed the run, but Trinity got it going again and managed to claw its way back to a tie ball game, 59-59, at the 8:18 mark. The Bantams overtook Tufts and gained their first lead since the 13:40 mark of the first half, but could push the advantage no higher than six points down the stretch. Tufts chipped away as they capitalized on their free throw attempts, while the Bantams were only able to cash in on one at a time down the stretch. It looked as hope was lost for Tufts as Kumf missed a pair from the stripe to leave the Jumbos trailing by one with seven seconds left. After a quick foul, Patrick Martin gave Trinity a two-point edge with a one-for-two showing at the line and Shepherd took the ball up the left side for the game-tying layup.
It was all Tufts in the extra session as Trinity was unable to convert a single field goal, while Weitzen and Shepherd combined for 12 of the squad’s 18 overtime points.Trinity dropped to 18-6 with the loss and will await word of a possible at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Seedings will be announced Monday morning at 8 a.m.
NESCAC Postseason Tournament Seedings
Championship – Sunday, February 26 at Amherst College
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