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Men's Basketball Battles With Nationally Ranked Foe

Men's Basketball Battles With Nationally Ranked Foe

BOSTON, Mass. – Junior Vincent Pace (Bridgewater, N.J.) led four players in double figures with 15 points to go along with eight rebounds and four assists as the Tufts University men's basketball team used a 10-0 run to open the second half and defeat Wentworth Institute of Technology, 78-63, in a non-conference contest at Tansey Gymnasium.

The Jumbos, ranked fifth in the latest Poll, snap a two-game losing streak and improve to 7-2 on the season while the Leopards suffered their third straight setback to stand at 2-5.

In the opening six minutes of play there were five lead changes as both teams battled back and forth. Junior Ben Kizel (Short Hills, N.J.) hit a three pointer with 14:13 left to give the hosts a 9-8 lead, however junior Ben Engvall (Barrington, R.I.) drained a three of Tufts' next possession to give the Jumbos an 11-9 lead and ignited a 7-0 run which was capped off by a layup from junior Everett Dayton (Los Angeles, Calif.) with 11:40 left to give the visitors a 15-9 lead.

Wentworth used a 9-2 run over the next 3:08 and re-gained the lead on a freshman Matt Vartanian (Salem, N.H.) second chance opportunity off his own miss. Pace answered with a three-point play to give the Jumbos a 20-18 lead before Vartanian tied the game with a layup with 8:04 left. Tufts used a 10-1 run to lead by nine (30-21) on a layup from junior Stefan Duvivier (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) with 4:26 left. The Leopards used a 7-0 run – capped off by a junior Jason Ganley (Northbridge, Mass.) layup with 2:55 remaining and trailed, 35-32, at the break.

Tufts began the second half on a 10-0 run, with seven points coming from senior Tom Palleschi (Haverhill, Mass.) and a three pointer from Pace. Ganley scored Wentworth's next four points to knock the lead to 11 with just under 16 minutes remaining however, the Jumbos pushed their lead to 18 on a pair of occasions, including on a Dayton layup with just under 13 minutes left.

A Ganley jumper with 12:05 left snapped a streak of 4:26 where Wentworth was held without a field goal and started a 6-0 spurt which brought the lead to 12 with 10:54 left. The Leopards' defense held Tufts without a field goal over a span of 6:45 and would whittle a 16-point lead down to eight (67-59) with 4:08 remaining on one of two free throws from Kizel. Senior Tarik Smith (Bronx, N.Y.), whose layup ended the field goal drought, scored on the next possession to push the lead to 69-59,

One of two free throws from Ganley brought the lead back to single digits, however, Smith hit a three on the Jumbos' next possession and Pace added a layup to make it 74-60 with 1:39 remaining. A three-point play from freshman Stephen Azums (Hyde Park, Mass.) brought Wentworth to within 11 but that would be as close as the Leopards would come.

Dayton had 14 points to go along with seven rebounds, three assists, and three steals while Smith also scored 14 points and had four assists and a pair of steals. Palleschi had 11 points and three blocked shots.

Four players for Wentworth tallied double figures. Ganley had 11 points, four rebounds, and three assists; Vartanian connected on 4-of-6 shots from the floor and also had five rebounds, senior Dan DeVaux (Wethersfield, Conn.) had seven rebounds to go along with his 11 points, and Azums was 4-for-7 from the floor and also grabbed four offensive rebounds.

Wentworth closes out first semester play on Monday night at Mount Ida. Tufts ends its first semester on Tuesday night at Framingham State.