Men's Basketball Opens Up NESCAC Play With 92-85 Road Win Over Wesleyan Friday Night

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Junior Luke Rogers turned in a double-double with 23 points along with ten rebounds and four blocks to help the Tufts men's basketball team open up NESCAC play with a 92-85 win over Wesleyan on the road on Friday night. 

Will Brady helped the Jumbos with nine points off the bench Friday

The Jumbos improve to 11-2 overall and 1-0 in NESCAC play with the win, while Wesleyan falls to 9-3 overall and 0-1 in conference games. 

The Cardinals jumped out to an early lead and held on to that lead for the first five minutes of play.  Down by seven with 14:56 left in the half the Jumbos got a three from senior Eric Savage and then a couple of free throws from Savage on the Jumbos next possession cut the Wesleyan lead to two, 11-9.  The two teams traded baskets and then a dunk from Jordan James put the Cardinals ahead by four.  Freshman Dylan Thoerner cut the lead to three with a three with 11:48 left in the half, and then a jumper from junior Justin Kouyoumdjian gave the Jumbos their first lead of the day with 11:31 remaining on the clock.  

About a minute later rookie Casey McLaren pushed the lead to four with one from downtown.  Then Kouyoumdjian added a three-point play with a layup and the made free throw after to put the Jumbos ahead, 22-15, with 9:28 left in the half.  The Jumbos pushed that lead to ten thanks to a three from junior Will Brady with 8:23 left in the half.  But, the Cardinals answered with back-to-back threes from Shackylle Dezonie and David Dixon to cut the lead to four with 7:04 on the clock.  Brady answered with another three to push the Jumbo lead back to seven, but then Sam Peek turned in one from downtown for the Cardinals and Antone Walker brought the Cardinals within two, 30-28, with a jumper with 5:41 left in the half.  

The Jumbos countered with a three from junior Brennan Morris, and after a layup from Dezonie for the Cardinals, junior Max Oppenheim put the Jumbos ahead by five with a layup with 4:54 to go.  About a minute later Rogers turned in a layup and then a layup from senior Eric Savage gave the Jumbos a nine-point advantage with 3:22 remaining in the half.  After a couple of free throws from freshman Tyler Aronson and a layup from Oppenheim the Jumbos were ahead by 13.  As they had for most of the first half, the Cardinals tried to fight their way back in it, but the Jumbos took a 47-40 lead into the break.  

Wesleyan tied things up in the second half but was never able to take the lead.  Down 60-53 about four minutes into the second half Jordan James dunked and then Kevin McDonald turned in a layup and the free throw after to bring the Cardinals within four, 60-56.  A layup from Walker brought them within two, and then Dezonie tied things at 60 with a layup with 13:30 left to go.  

The Jumbos answered with back-to-back threes from Aronson to take a six-point lead again.  The two teams would trade baskets, but the Cardinals were not able to take a lead.  But, they were never out of it.  Down by seven, 87-80, with 2:34 remaining, Peek turned in a layup and the free throw after to bring the Cardinals within four, and then a James layup with 1:31 left brought them within two, 87-85.  But, the Jumbos got a jumper from Aronson and then two free throws from Morris to take an 91-85 lead with 17 seconds left and held on for a 92-85 win.  

Rogers' 23 points were a game-high, while he also was the rebound leader with ten rebounds and added four blocks.  Aronson finished with 15 points and five assists.  Morris added 13 points and six rebounds.  Savage added 12 points, four rebounds and seven assists.  The Jumbos got 24 points from their bench, including nine from Brady, all from downtown. 

James led the Cardinals with 19 points and eight rebounds.  Peek turned in 17 points along with four rebounds, four assists, a couple steals and three blocks.  Walker tallied 15 points and added six assists.  Preston Maccoux was the fourth Cardinal in double-digits with 12 points and eight rebounds. 

The Jumbos are back in action on Tuesday they host Suffolk for a 7 pm start.  Wesleyan plays again on Sunday when they host Bates for a 1 pm tip-off.