Morris' Career-High 23 Points Not Enough as MIT Edges Men's Basketball in Overtime

CAMBRIDGE – In a hard-fought battle with No. 5 MIT the Tufts men's basketball team fell to the Engineers, 98-92, in overtime on the road on Tuesday night.  Sophomore Brennan Morris led the Jumbos with a career-high 23 points. 

Brennan Morris finished with a career-high 23 points against MIT

The loss is the first of the season for the Jumbos, who are now 2-1.  MIT improves to 2-1 with the win. 

The Jumbos grabbed and early lead in the first half and held on to that for most of the first half of the first period.  A three from MIT's Ian Hinkley tied things at 16 with 13:16 left in the half.  The Jumbos responded with a three from sophomore Will Brady and a layup from classmate Luke Rogers.  After two Engineer free throws, the Jumbos got another bucket from Rogers, and then a three from sophomore Justin Kouyoumdjian put them ahead by eight, 26-18, with ten minutes left in the first half. 

Despite some MIT points, the Jumbos held onto the lead, and ahead by six with 3:56 left in that half the Jumbos grew that lead to 12 with back-to-back threes from freshman Carson Cohen and Morris.  The Engineers chipped away at that lead, and the Jumbos went into the half with a 43-39 advantage. 

Coming out of the half the Engineers got back-to-back-to-back layups from Bradley Jomard to tie things at 43 and then take a two-point lead, 45-43.  But the Jumbos quickly took the lead back with a three from Morris.  The Jumbos grew their second half lead to as many as nine, but the Engineers came right back and took a one-point lead thanks to a Cameron Korb three with 5:14 left in the game.  The Jumbos got the lead back thanks to a layup from Morris, but the Engineers tied things at 78 with 3:14 left.  

Ahead by four with 42 seconds left in the game, the Jumbos weren't able to hold on.  MIT got a layup from Tim Roberts and the Jumbos had the ball with 34 seconds left.  An untimely turnover with five seconds left gave MIT the ball and breakaway opportunity, but a Jumbo foul sent Roberts to the line where he made both free throws to tie the game at 86 with five seconds left.  The Jumbos got the ball in and freshman Tyler Aronson got off a deep three, but it didn't fall and the game went to overtime.   

On the first possession of overtime sophomore Luke Rogers was sent to the bench with an offensive foul, his fifth of the game.  Cohen tipped in a missed Morris layup to give the Jumbos the first points of overtime.  MIT then got a free throw from Roberts and then a layup from Roberts on their next possession to take a one-point lead, 89-88, with 1:53 left. The Engineers followed that with a layup from Dakota Pierce and then two free throws from Jurko put the Engineers up five, 93-88 with 44 seconds left in overtime.  

Kouyoumdjian made a jumper and was fouled, making the free throw after to bring the Jumbos within two, 93-91, with 32 seconds left.  Jurko was fouled right away and made one of two free throws to put MIT ahead 94-91 with 31 seconds left.  Cohen was fouled on the Jumbos next possession and made one of his two to come within two, 94-92.  Once again, the Engineers were fouled, and this time Korb made one of two to increase the lead to three, 95-92.  Kouyoumidjian got off a potentially game-tying three that bounced around but didn't go in and Roberts made both free throws after being fouled to increase the MIT lead to five, 97-92.  The Engineers held on for the 98-92 win. 

Morris finished with 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Jumbos.  Aronson tallied 16 points, while Cohen finished with 14 points and Kouyoumdjian turned in 11.  Junior Pat Racy added five points and ten rebounds off the bench for the Jumbos, and sophomore Will Brady added nine points.  

Roberts led the Engineers with 23 points and 13 rebounds along with three steals.  Korb finished with 22 points and six rebounds.  The Jumbos held the Engineer's leading-scorer, Jomard to just 15 points and five rebounds, as he fouled out with about seven minutes left in the second half.  Jurko finished the game with 13 points and seven assists. The Engineers also got ten points from Dan Pilsbury off the bench.  

Both teams struggled with foul trouble, as three Jumbos and one Engineer fouled out in the contest.  The Jumbos turned the ball over 23 times, while MIT lost the ball 22 times.  But, the Engineers scored 28 points off those turnovers, while the Jumbos turned in 13 points off turnovers.  

The Jumbos are back in action on Tuesday when they host WPI for their home opener at 7 pm in Cousens Gym.  MIT plays again on Saturday when they travel to Keene State for a 1 pm start with the Owls.