MEDFORD, Mass. - The Tufts University men's basketball team built a 28-point second-half lead, then survived a Plymouth State University comeback attempt to post an 87-77 victory over the visiting Panthers Tuesday night at Cousens Gymnasium.
The victory was the fifth in the row for the Jumbos (7-2) as they head into the semester break, while the injury-riddled Panthers (5-5) dropped their third straight.
Senior co-captain Brian Kumf (Milford, Mass.) led the winners with 19 points (9 for 12 field goals) while adding six rebounds. Tufts finished the game with a 56.7 field goal percentage, including 64.5 percent in the first half. Plymouth State was led by senior tri-captain Mike Walcek (Dover, N.H.) with a game-high 22 points and nine rebounds, including a 12-for-14 effort from the line.
An early 15-5 run put the Jumbos in charge. The home team went ahead 27-15 with nine minutes remaining, maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the half, and took a 43-27 advantage into the locker room.
The Jumbo margin got as high as 28 points in the second half (63-35) with 14:39 on the clock, but PSU would mount a comeback. The Panthers outscored Tufts 39-19 over the next 12 minutes, pulling to within eight points (82-74) with 1:55 to play, but the Jumbos drained four free throws in the final 64 seconds to help keep the Panthers at bay.
Tufts won the battle of the boards, 44-33, with junior Jake Weitzen (New York, N.Y.) hauling in seven to go with 14 points. Jon Pierce (Belmont, Mass.) finished with 16 points, while senior co-captain Dave Shepherd (Grantham, NH) had 11 for the Jumbos.
Junior Phil Bourassa (Old Orchard Beach, Maine) came off the bench to score 12 points with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals in an active 33 minutes for the Panthers. PSU was without key frontcourt players Chris Wilkinson (Newmarket, N.H.) and Mike Chergey (Bow, N.H.), who sat out with injuries. The Panthers finished the game at 37.5 percent shooting from the floor, including just 3 of 19 from three-point territory.
The Jumbos are off until Jan. 4 when they travel to New Jersey to play William Paterson. Plymouth State finishes its first semester Saturday at home against Johnson & Wales (3:00 p.m.)
(Courtesy of Tufts Sports Information)
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