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Jumbos come back to edge men's basketball, 74-67

Graham Safford '15 drives into Tufts' defense. Safford finished with 11 points and six assists. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

LEWISTON, Maine -- Tom Palleschi totaled 19 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots to lead Tufts University to a 74-67 win over the Bates College men's basketball team on Saturday in NESCAC action at Alumni Gymnasium.

It was Tufts' (12-7, 5-2 NESCAC) sixth straight win, with five of those coming against NESCAC opponents.

Bates (7-12, 2-5 NESCAC) led by as many as 15 points in the first half and finished the period with a 40-33 advantage. Tufts outscored Bates 41-27 in the second half, finally breaking the game's seventh and final tie with a 3-pointer by Kwame Firempong with 3:00 to go in the game. The lead changed five times over the second half.

Bates couldn't respond to Firempong's three before Ben Ferris converted a three-point play with 1:31 left, making it 70-64, Tufts' largest lead of the game to that point. Bates senior Mark Brust (Duxbury, Mass.) and Tufts' Ferris traded layups to keep the gap at six, and a pair of free throws by Firempong with 23 seconds left to play sealed Tufts' win.

Ferris and Scott Anderson scored 15 points apiece for Tufts; Firempong added 11 with five assists, and Stephen Haladyna scored 10 points off the bench. Oliver Cohen went scoreless but dished out eight assists. Tufts shot 50% from the field for the game (26/52), including 43.8% from long range (7/16); the Jumbos also made 88.2% of their free throws (15/17).

Mark Brust scored 11 points with three assists. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.

Bates senior Ed Bogdanovich (Portland, Maine) scored a game-high 21 points, his biggest scoring night since November, and he hauled down seven rebounds, as Bates achieved a slight 34-33 edge on the glass. First-year Mike Boornazian (Portland, Conn.) had 15 points and six rebounds, while sophomore Graham Safford (Hampden, Maine) and Brust added 11 points apiece. Safford also distributed a team-high six assists and added two steals and a block. Bates committed only five turnovers in the game.

The Bobcats' Achilles' heel was their three-point shooting: they were 2-for-18 from long distance (11.1%), 23-for-43 on two-pointers (53.5%).

Safford assisted Bogdanovich for layups on three straight early possessions, including a fast-break dunk and a three-point play that made it 13-8 in Bates' favor. The Bobcats turned an 18-13 lead into 28-13 with a 10-0 run, capped by a four-point play by Boornazian with 10:03 left in the half. Anderson ended Bates' streak with a three of his own, and the Bobcats never led by as many again. Tufts outscored Bates 20-12 over the final 10 minutes of the half to whittle the lead down to 40-33 at the break. Firempong nailed two threes in that span, and Ferris closed out the period's scoring with another three with 1:13 to go.

Tufts' shooting continued its warming trend as the second half got under way with a pair of layups by Palleschi, and 5:26 into the period the game was knotted up at 45-45, after Ferris and Anderson had each made pairs of free throws. Palleschi scored 13 of his points in the second period.

Bates will host Husson on Tuesday at 7pm in a non-conference matchup (Video / Live Stats).

BOX SCORE

Adam Philpott, Taylor Gartley, Mike Boornazian and Derek Murphy react after Boornazian made a three and was fouled. Boornazian made the ensuing free throw for a rare four-point play. Photo by Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College.