MEDFORD- In a Saturday matinee, Tufts men's basketball defeated Williams College by a score of 81-66 to win their fifth straight, advancing to 12-9 on the year and 7-2 in the NESCAC. This loss was the second straight for the Ephs, who now sit at 14-3, 4-3 in conference play.
The Ephs entered Saturday having lost their last competition to NESCAC-leading Wesleyan University in a 97-52 rout. Before that game, Williams was forced into an eight-day hiatus where they had four games either canceled or postponed. On the other side, the Jumbos seem to be hitting their stride as the season winds down, tallying their seventh victory in the last eight games.
Honoring their seniors before the game, head coach Brandon Linton opted for an all senior lineup as Brennan Morris, Will Brady, Kieran Kindig (pictured), and Eric DeBrine and Luke Rogers took the floor for the opening minutes.
Coming into the game leading the NESCAC in three-point field goal percentage at 40 percent, the Ephs sank two threes in the opening minutes that contributed to an 8-2 lead. This small advantage was quickly erased by a 16-4 Jumbos run, fueled by junior guard Dylan Thoerner's 3 for 3 start from beyond the arc putting the Jumbos ahead 18-12.
After a difficult scoop layup from Williams senior forward Jovan Jones tied the game at 18 with 9:32 left in the first period, a combination of tough Jumbos' defense and Ephs miscues over the next six minutes would lead to a 14-0 Tufts run, widening the margin to 32-18 in favor of the Jumbos.
Twenty-four bench points and 16 points off of 10 Ephs' first-half turnovers helped the Jumbos go into the break with a firm 37-23 advantage.
Rogers opened the scoring in the second half with a layup off the glass and made three free throws over the next two possessions to stretch the Jumbo lead to 19 at 42-23.
With the game looking almost out of reach, sophomore forward Nate Karren single-handedly helped Williams claw within striking distance. With his team down 67-47 with 7:45 remaining, Karren scored and facilitated to lead his team on a lightning quick 13-2 run, cutting the Jumbos' lead to just nine at 69-60.
Senior guard Tyler Aronson responded for Tufts with his third three-pointer of the day, and Morris iced the game with a contested triple with the shot clock winding down, putting the game out of reach at 77-65.
Morris finished the game with 10 points, one of six Jumbos in double figures for the day. Freshman big man Trumann Gettings had 12 points, Brady had 10, and Rogers and Aronson had 15 apiece. The Jumbos' leading scorer on the season, Dylan Thoerner, poured in 19 on an efficient 6-12 from the field.
For Williams, forward Jones had 10 points, and Karren led all scorers with 25, 20 in the second half alone. Karren came into the game ranking second on his squad in points per game, first in assists, first in rebounds and first in blocks.
Both teams will play their final regular-season game Sunday the 13th. Tufts will host Middlebury College (17-4, NESCAC 7-2) and Williams will finish up at Bates College (9-10, NESCAC 2-7).
Written by Steven Landry, Athletic Communications Student Assistant