MEDFORD, Mass. – With 1.9 seconds left on the clock and the score even at 74-74, senior forward Sam Freeman hit perhaps the biggest shot in program history, as he gave men's basketball the go-head score and the eventual win over fifth ranked Tufts University Tuesday evening at Cousens Gymnasium.
UMass Boston 76, #5 Tufts University 74
UMass Boston (5-2)
Tufts University (6-2)
HOW IT HAPPENED
Freeman scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Beacons, while Tufts, which lost its second straight was led by 16 points by junior Everett Dayton.
UMass Boston led by seven points, 72-65, with 90 seconds remaining in regulation after a steal and a lay-up by freshman Alex Sanchez (Salem, Mass.). Tufts would rally to tie the score at 74-74 with 19 seconds remaining thanks to a pair of 3-pointers by Tuft's Tarik Smith
With the 19 seconds remaining to set up their final shot, the Beacons went inside to Freeman and he swished it. A desperation half-court shot by the Jumbos as time expired wasn't close.
The Jumbos led by as many as 11 points in the opening half (39-28) on Dayton's lay-up at 3:42 of the period. However, the Beacons closed the half with a 10-2 run to pull within 41-38 at the break. Senior Dan Powers (Westwood, Mass.) hit a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer to send the visitors into the break with some momentum.
Dayton and Ben Engvall both had nine points at intermission for Tufts, who hit five of 10 threes in the half. Freeman had 12 points for the Beacons at the break.
Tom Palleschi opened the second half with a jumper putting the hosts ahead 43-38. However, UMB scored the next 10 points on the strength of three-pointers by Powers and junior Iser Barnes (Boston, Mass.) to lead 48-43 at the 16-minute mark. Barnes would help the Beacons seal the victory in the final minute of play as the senior drained a pair of free throws to make it 74-71 at the time. Tufts would then score their final 3-pointer of the night to make it 74-all.
It was a one-possession game from there until a pair of Neil Cesar (Randolph, Mass.) free throws gave UMass Boston a 64-59 advantage with 4:37 on the second-half clock. Three-pointers by Dayton and Palleschi for Tufts pulled the Jumbos within three (68-65) with 3:31 remaining in the second half.
Lay-ups by Beacons senior Careem Kirksey (Dorchester, Mass.) and Sanchez opened the seven-point margin in the final two minutes. Tufts' last lead was 59-58 with seven minutes on the clock.
Freeman made 12 of 23 shots with two free throws for his 26 points while adding six rebounds. Barnes had 15 points and four steals for the Beacons, while Powers double-doubled with 15 points (three of four trifectas) and 13 rebounds. Sanchez recorded eight points with five assists.
Smith added 13 points for Tufts including 10 in the second half. Engvall also tallied 13 to go with four rebounds and two steals. Dayton had a team-high six rebounds while senior Drew Madsen led with three assists. The Jumbos finished at 41-percent three-point shooting (9/22).
BY THE NUMBERS
- Tuesday's win over Tufts University marks the highest ranked opponent UMass Boston men's basketball has defeated, since their win over 20th ranked MIT in the 2014-15 season
- UMB finished +9 in the rebounding battle (42-33)
- The win over Tufts University is their first since 2004 ending a streak of 12 straight losses
- It is the first win for the Beacons in Cousens Gymnasium since 1997
- Over the last three games Freeman is currently averaging 24.3 points per game
- Powers double-double was his second of the season
The Beacons will travel to Eastern Nazarene College on Thursday for a 7 p.m. contest.
Information for this release provided by Tufts University Sports Information Department