MEDFORD – The Tufts University men's basketball team will begin post-season play on Sunday, February 20 at 2:00 pm when they host a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Championship Quarterfinal matchup at Cousens Gym.
This season, due to COVID-19 protocols creating challenges for NESCAC teams to reschedule games this winter and the potential for a disparity in the number of regular-season conference games played, the NESCAC membership agreed to modify the championship for the 2021-22 season to include all 11 teams. Three play-in games between the sixth through 11th seeds will be held on February 18.
On Sunday Tufts will host the winner of the #7 seed Trinity (13-8, 4-5 NESCAC) versus #10 seed Bates (9-11, 2-8) play-in game. The winner will advance to the conference semi-finals at the site of the highest remaining seed on February 26.
Head coach Brandon Linton's Jumbos finished the regular-season with a 13-9 overall record and an 8-2 record in the NESCAC, earning the #2 seed in the conference tournament. Tufts is the defending NESCAC champion, winning the 2020 title and holding on to the crown for two years as last year's tournament was canceled. They have an 11-15 tournament record in 16 total appearances. Trinity, the 2008 champion, is 15-17 in their 18 tournament berths. Bates, seeking its first NESCAC crown, has played in 14 conference tournaments previously with a 6-14 record.
During the regular-season, Tufts defeated both of their potential opponents in Bates and Trinity. In their game at Bates on January 22, the Jumbos went on an 8-0 run in the final 2:26 of the game for the 71-70 victory as Dylan Thoerner made the game-winning layup with seven seconds remaining. Luke Rogers ended the game with a 32-point and 15-rebound double double. On February 4, Tufts hosted Trinity and held them to just 38 points for the 61-38 victory. The Jumbos let up just 11 first-half points and had three players in double digit points at the end, led by Thoerner with 12. Graduate student Brennan Morris and Rogers each scored 11 points in the win.
Tufts ended the regular-season and heads into the tournament with the third-most points per game in the NESCAC with 75.0, while Trinity trails just behind them with 74.1 points scored per game. Bates finished the regular-season with 72.3 points per game which is seventh in the conference. Defensively, Tufts allows the fifth-most points in the NESCAC at 69.0 points per game. Trinity is fourth-best in NESCAC on defense with 65.1 ppg allowed, and Bates has allowed the NESCAC's second-most points per game (72.7).
Written by Tim O'Brien, Athletic Communications Intern