Men’s basketball picks up win against Lasell, loses to Trinity

First-year guard Carson Cohen dribbles past a defender during Tufts' 75–71 win over Wesleyan on Jan. 26. Evan Slack / The Tufts Daily

The Jumbos picked up a win against Lasell and a loss against Trinity College this week to go 4–6 in the NESCAC and 11–13 on the season.

Tufts won handily against Lasell, beating the Boomers 101–90. The Jumbos were not so successful in their game against Trinity, however, and suffered an 87–67 blowout loss to close out the regular season.

The Trinity game opened in a stalemate — both teams traded baskets in the first seven minutes, until Trinity started to pull away, working their way up to a 13-point lead with just under six minutes to go in the first half. Trinity led Tufts 40–30 when the teams left the court for halftime.

The shots weren’t falling on the offensive end, as the Jumbos attempted 28 field goals and 12 3-pointers in the first half but converted on only 10 of their field goals and two of their 3-pointers. The Bantams, on the other hand, held a 38.2 percent field goal conversion rate and an intimidating 3-point conversion rate of 46.2 percent.

Trinity came right out of the gate in the second half with five straight points, making a layup and a 3-pointer. The two teams went back and forth for the remainder of the half, but the Bantams pulled away around the 16-minute mark and were able to expose the Jumbos defense. They kept the Jumbos out of the paint and racked up a dominating 20-point lead to end the game 87–67.

Sophomore center Luke Rogers explained that Trinity simply outfought Tufts on the night.

“I think that we could have been stronger,” Rogers said. “We did not come together to overcome our deficit. Our ball movement became stagnant and we couldn’t get into our motions. We knew that they had played tougher than us. It was disappointing, as we did not come out how we wanted to. It is also a great learning opportunity for us to play against a team that was as physical as they were. We did not do a lot of the little things needed to win games. This was a flaw in our mental toughness. Sometimes your shots just aren’t falling, but that means you need to rework your offense and get better shots.”

Junior guard captain Eric Savage led the team in scoring with 20 points, sophomore center Luke Rogers led the team in rebounds with 14 and first-year guard Carson Cohen led the team in assists with four.

The loss against Trinity dropped Tufts to ninth in the NESCAC, leaving the players massively disappointed.

“The Trinity loss is a tough one,” Savage said. “If I’m being honest, that was one of the worst games we have played as a team all season. We allowed them to dictate the game and play it the way they wanted to, which was at a slow pace so they could defend in the half court and keep us out of the paint. We can’t stress over it for too long because next weekend is the conference playoff quarterfinals, so it is important that we learn from our errors and build on what we have by correcting them and looking forward to the coming weekend.”

In the Lasell game on Thursday, both teams came out strong on offense, making the score 10–9 within the first four minutes of play. Sophomore guard Brennan Morris contributed heavily to this early offensive burst, scoring five points on a 3-point jump shot and a layup.

Tufts didn’t let up on the offense while Lasell lagged behind as the game went on. The Jumbos went on a 10–0 run to make the score 20–9, due largely in part to three consecutive layups from Rogers. The Jumbos were able to keep the Boomers at bay throughout the rest of the half, too, entering the break up 59–47.

In the second half, Lasell tried to mount a comeback. Seven minutes into the half, they had reduced the deficit down to two to make it 73–71 with 13 minutes to play. The Jumbos didn’t lose their composure, though, and were able to keep the Boomers at arm’s length for the rest of the game.

Savage attributes their ability to keep Lasell out of the game to the team’s resiliency.

“When any team goes on a run, like Lasell did, it’s important to stick to the game plan and continue to execute because that is what got us there in the first place,” Savage said. “They hit some very tough shots, trying to claw back into the game but we continued to do what we had been doing all night and we were able to weather the storm.”

The game ended in a 101–90 victory for the Jumbos; it was the first time the team broke the 100-point mark all season, a testament to their great offensive play. The Jumbos put out an impressive effort on offense, shooting 37–62 from the field, 12–20 from 3-point range and 15–23 from the free-throw line.

The Jumbos played fluidly and aggressively, which is what Savage believes helped them to get the win.

“We moved the ball extremely well against Lasell and that allowed us to get open shots,” Savage said. “We have a ton of guys that can score the ball so when it is moving like it was on Thursday night and we are getting open looks, we are tough to stop offensively.”

The Trinity game marks the end of the regular season for Tufts. They are in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament, but who they will play depends on the Hamilton Amherst game on Tuesday.