GALLATIN, Tenn. - The Tufts University men's basketball team closed the first half with a 15-3 run and then pulled away from Simpson College in the second half for a 78-61 victory at the Music City Classic on Thursday afternoon.
Dylan Thoerner scored 15 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to lead the Jumbos. Luke Rogers (pictured) added 20 points, bringing his career total to 997. He will have a good chance to hit the 1,000-point milestone on January 7 when Tufts hosts Wesleyan in its NESCAC opener.
Tufts finished the Music City Classic played at Welch College near Nashville with a 2-0 record and is now 4-7 overall. Simpson College, led today by 17 points off the bench from Jack Hutchinson (five for six on threes), is also 4-7.
The Jumbos trailed 28-26 after a Hutchinson three with 3:46 to go until halftime. The Tufts big men - Rogers and freshman Trumann Gettings - initiated the 15-3 run with eight consecutive points putting the Jumbos up 34-28. With a three-pointer by Theo Henry and four free throws from Thoerner, Tufts led 41-31 at the break.
Rogers then had the first two buckets of the second half putting the Jumbos up by 14 at 45-31. With Tufts ahead 52-39 following a Tyler Aronson basket, Simpson fought back by scoring eight of the next 10 points. That pulled the Storm within seven (54-47) following a three from Buck Eagleburger.
Simpson was within nine points when the clock dropped beneath 10 minutes to go in regulation. However, Rogers and Gettings again combined for a 6-0 spurt putting Tufts up by 15 (64-49) with 7:50 remaining. The Jumbo lead would get as high as 19 points when a Thoerner three made it 73-54 at 2:47.
Simpson's Andrew Curran made a three to close the gap to 12 (73-61), but with just 1:49 remaining it was too late for the Storm. Thoerner and Rogers closed out the Tufts win at the line, where Tufts was nine for 11 in the second half.
Rogers (9 for 17 FGs) added 19 rebounds, three assists and two blocks for the Jumbos. He and Gettings - who made all five of his field goal attempts and scored 13 points with three assists - gave the Storm all sorts of trouble down low. The Jumbos had a season-low seven turnovers.
Chris Honz finished with 15 points, 10 rebounds and three assists in a team-high 34 minutes for Simpson.