Morris' Threes Help Men's Basketball Hold Off No. 25 Wesleyan and Win 75-71 Saturday Afternoon

MEDFORD – Sophomore Brennan Morris made two clutch threes that helped the Tufts men's basketball team knock off No. 25 Wesleyan, 75-71, on Saturday afternoon in Cousens Gym.  Wesleyan was undefeated in league play and at the top of the conference standings coming into the game.    

Justin Kouyoumdjian scored 16 points, making four threes on Saturday.

The Jumbos improve to 10-10 overall and are 4-3 in NESCAC play.  The loss snaps a seven-game winning streak for Wesleyan, who is now 15-5 overall and 5-1 in conference games. 

Wesleyan overcame a 20-point first half deficit and took the lead about 13 minutes into the second half.  They would lead by as many as six, but the Jumbos fought back and sophomore Brennan Morris made a three that put Tufts ahead and then another to secure the win.  

Down by two, 69-67, Morris made his first three to put the Jumbos up 70-69 with 2:29 left in the game.  On the Cardinals next possession, they missed a shot and freshman Tyler Aronson grabbed a key rebound and the Jumbos put the ball in Morris' hands again.   He converted from behind the arc again to put the Jumbos up 73-69.  They would hang on for the 75-71 win.    

The Jumbos started the game hot.  About three minutes into play they scored 11 unanswered points to take a 13-point lead.  The run started with a free throw from sophomore Luke Rogers.  Then classmate Justin Kouyoumdjian turned in a layup and Rogers added one as well.  Sophomore Brennan Morris drained a three to give the Jumbos a ten-point lead and junior captain Eric Savage made a layup and the free throw after put the Jumbos ahead, 17-4, with 14:56 left in the half.

After a couple of Wesleyan baskets, the Jumbos continued with their streak.  Ahead nine freshman Carson Cohen made a three, sophomore Max Oppenheim turned in a layup and then a three from Morris put the Jumbos ahead 17, 25-8, with 8:45 left in the half.  The teams traded baskets, and ahead 14 with 2:26 left in the half Kouyoumdjian made two threes to put the Jumbos ahead 20, 44-24, at the half. 

The Cardinals came out of the break and slowly chipped away at the Jumbo lead.  A layup from Cardinal Joe Delollo cut the lead to 16 and then a Jordan James dunk brought them within 14.  Antone Walker then made a three to bring the Cardinals within 11, 47-36, about three minutes into the second half. 

The two teams traded threes and then Gabe Ravetz made a layup that brought the Cardinals within nine.  The Jumbos answered with a three from sophomore Will Brady to take the lead back up to 12, 53-41, with 14:12 left in the game.  But, Ravetz made a three and then Delollo added a layup, and then a three from Walker brought the Cardinals within four, 53-49, with 12:48 remaining.  

Both teams went back and forth the next four minutes.  With the Jumbos ahead by four Walker made a jumper that brought the Cardinals within two, 61-59, with 8:45 left in the game.  Walker then made two free throws to tie things at 61 with 7:58 left in the game.  About forty seconds later Austin Hutcherson made a free throw that gave the Cardinals their first lead of the game. 

After Rogers made a free throw to tie things at 62, the Cardinals scored six straight to take a 68-62 lead with 4:48 left to go in the game. On the Jumbos next possession Morris was fouled behind the arc and made all three free throws to bring the Jumbos within three.  Freshman Tyler Aronson made one of two at the charity stripe to bring Tufts within two, 68-66, with 3:50 remaining.  

The two teams traded free throws and the Jumbos were down by two, 69-67.  Then Morris made his first three and secured the win with the second on the Jumbos next possession.  Tufts won, 75-71.

Morris was the point leader with a game-high 20-points and he added five rebounds.  Kouyoumdjian turned in 16 points, four rebounds and four assists.  Savage finished with 13 points, five rebounds and six assists.  Rogers helped with nine points and five rebounds.  Aronson added three points, four rebounds and four assists. 

For the Cardinals, Walker led the offense with 18 points.  Delollo turned in 14 points and eight rebounds and Hutcherson added 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.  Jordan Bonner added five points and nine rebounds and Ravetz helped with eight points.  

The Jumbos play again on Friday when they travel to Amherst for a scheduled 7 pm tip off.  Wesleyan will take on Trinity at home on Friday with a 7 pm start.