BRISTOL, R.I. – Tufts University (1-0) rallied past Saint Joseph's College (1-2), 88-83, in the opening game of the Courtyard by Marriott Tournament at Roger Williams University on Friday evening.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Monks and Jumbos essentially traded blows early in the first half until the Royal Blue notched a 14-6 scoring burst, which was capped by an Ian Mileikis (Auburn, Maine) layup to make it a 33-24 game with 8:44 remaining in the first half.
On the heels of a 9-0 run, Tufts cut the SJC cushion down to two points (37-35) with 3:02 before the break, but St. Joe's added to the lead with the help of a Ryan Lavallee (Carver, Mass.) three-pointer and held a 44-37 advantage heading into intermission.
The Monks registered an 11-3 run in the opening three minutes of the second stanza en route to securing a game-high 15-point (55-40) lead, but the Jumbos answered in kind with a game-changing 23-5 offensive run. Justin Kouyoumdjian hit a jumper with 9:41 left to close out the surge and lift his team to a 63-60 edge.
Saint Joseph's managed to regain the lead and went up 78-73 after sophomore Jack Casale (Portland, Maine/Cheverus) converted a traditional three-point play with 4:28 left, but the field goal proved to be the Monks' last of the evening while Tufts posted a 15-5 run – including a 5-6 effort from the FT line – in the closing minutes to clinch the victory.
STATS OF THE GAME:
Long distance shooting proved to be the difference tonight, as the Jumbos shot 35.7% (10-28) from three-point range while the Monks posted a 30.0% (6-20) success rate from downtown…The Monks held the lead for 30:56 minutes, or 77.3% of the contest…Tonight's game featured six ties and nine lead changes…Saint Joseph's (21-27) and Tufts (20-26) combined to make 41 free throws in 53 attempts.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Casale posted the third double-double of his career with 24 points and 13 rebounds and added four assists and four steals – he was also 9-10 from the FT line
- Mileikis was 6-6 from the stripe and netted 16 with four boards and three steals
- Senior Marc Corey (Londonderry, N.H.) scored 14 points with six caroms
- Senior Darian Berry (Rochester, N.Y.) chipped in with 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, and a pair of steals
- Sophomore Tatsuaki Sakai (Ishikawa, Japan) contributed nine points, four assists, three boards, and two steals
LEADERS – TUFTS:
- Carson Cohen was 7-8 from the FT line with 22 points and four assists
- Brennan Morris scored 18 points and was 6-9 from the field
- Tyler Aronson netted 15 points with eight rebounds
Tonight's meeting was the first ever between the Saint Joseph's and Tufts men's basketball programs.
The Monks will face either Anna Maria College or Roger Williams University in the consolation game of the tournament tomorrow at 1:00 PM.