Bobcats complete second-half comeback, beat Tufts in OT
|With 28 points, Bryan Wholey ’08 tied his career high also previously set against Tufts.|
MEDFORD, Mass. — Visiting Bates College erased a 15-point deficit in the second half and outscored Tufts 9-5 in overtime to take a 72-68 NESCAC men’s basketball victory over the Jumbos on Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gymnasium.
The victory was the first in conference play for Bates, which improved to 10-5 overall and 1-2 in NESCAC. The Jumbos remained winless in the conference at 0-3 while falling to 9-7 overall.
Tufts opened up a double-digit lead in the first half and took a 42-28 advantage into halftime. They led 49-34 after a three-pointer by senior guard Jeremy Black at the 16-minute mark in the second. Both teams turned cold over the next seven minutes, and the Jumbos had a 55-42 lead on a three by junior Jon Pierce with 9:20 left in regulation.
Bates began its comeback from there with a three-pointer by junior Scott Place (Raynham, Mass.). Another three by Place was part of a 15-4 Bates run that pulled them within 59-57 on a lay-up by freshman Brian Ellis (Braintree, Mass.) at 3:00. Tufts answered with the next four points, all by junior Aaron Gallant, for a 63-57 lead as regulation entered the final two minutes.
After the teams traded turnovers, a three-point play by sophomore Chris Wilson (Brewer, Maine) had Bates down by three (63-60) with 1:23 on the clock. Tufts missed a three at the other end, but the Bobcats turned the ball over. Black went to the free throw line on a one-and-one with 35 seconds to go and missed. Bates senior tri-captain Bryan Wholey (Marshfield, Mass.) popped a three-pointer at 26 seconds and the Bobcats, who had trailed all game to that point, were tied 63-63.
With plenty of time remaining to set-up a game-winning attempt, the Jumbos could only manage an off-balance jumper by senior Jake Weitzen and the game went to overtime.
Wholey opened the OT with a jumper to put Bates up 65-63. Tufts edged ahead 66-65 on a free throw and then a bucket by Weitzen at 2:45. Another jumper by Wholey gave Bates the lead back, and after two Tufts misses and a Bates miss, Wholey went to the free throw line and sank two freebies for a 69-66 Bobcat lead.
A lay-up by senior tri-captain Ryan O’Keefe pulled Tufts within 69-68, but Wilson added two free throws to make the Bates margin 71-68. Pierce missed a long-range three, and Bobcat junior Ben Thayer (Gorham, Maine) rebounded, was fouled, and hit one of two in the closing seconds to clinch the comeback.
Tufts gained its first-half advantage with a 16-4 stretch that turned their 21-18 lead into 37-22. Pierce dominated during those 7 1/2 minutes with 11 points. He had 16 at the half. Wholey led the Bobcats with 11 points at intermission.
Wholey tied his career high with a game-high 28 points, to go with nine rebounds and four steals to lead Bates. Wholey matched the 28 points he posted against Tufts last year, on Jan. 20, 2007.
Wilson added 15 points and four steals. The Bobcats earned a 48-43 advantage on the boards, but it was 33-19 in their favor for the second half. Sophomore Jimmy O’Keefe (Lexington, Mass.) had a game-high 12 rebounds to go with 10 points.
Pierce’s 21 points led Tufts and he added eight rebounds. Black and Weitzen both finished with 12 points and four assists. Weitzen led the Jumbos with nine rebounds and Black netted four three-pointers in six tries. Gallant had 10 points, five rebounds and three assists for the Jumbos.
Bates will host St. Joseph’s College in a non-league matchup Tuesday night at 7.
– Tufts University Sports Information