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Men's Basketball | Jumbos stomp Lesley, Suffolk

Two wins bring Jumbos to winning record before break

Published: Monday, December 10, 2012

Updated: Monday, December 10, 2012 14:12

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Scott Tingley / Tufts daily Archives

Sophomore guard Ben Ferris scored 18 points in each of the Jumbos’ two victories over Lesley and Suffolk this weekend.

The men’s basketball team took out its frustration on two underperforming Lesley University and Suffolk University teams this weekend, and now sits above .500 at 6−5 heading into winter break.

The Jumbos beat up on both Lesley and Suffolk for the second straight year, piling on 83 points and 111 points against the two teams only a year after ringing up 87 and 98 points, respectively.

In the first game of the weekend on Friday, Tufts got out to a quick start against Lesley and never looked back, spurred on by the excitement of playing in Cousens Gym for the first time all season and a boisterous home crowd.

“We were pretty excited to play at home, because we had played our first nine games on the road,” sophomore guard C.J. Moss said. “We were hoping to get a good turnout and we actually got a really good crowd, so it was exciting that everybody came through.”

The Jumbos, who have been slow starters this season, did not have an issue putting points up in a hurry against the Lynx. The first−half scoring was led by sophomore guard Ben Ferris who scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half, and freshman center Tom Palleschi, who scored 13 of his game−high 19.

However, Lesley was able to keep the game close for the majority of the first half, and was only down by eight, 25−17, with six minutes to go in the first. Tufts proceeded to go on a 16−5 run to close out the half, capped by a Ferris jumper with under a minute to go that put the Jumbos up 41−22.

“I think we went into the games against Lesley and Suffolk with a little more energy,” Moss said. “We had a sense of urgency because we wanted to pick up some wins.”

But Tufts saved its best performance for the second half and raced to a 67−29 lead, fueled by their 26−8 run after leaving the locker room. It was clear that the Jumbos would not take their feet off the pedal, especially after giving up leads to both No. 17 Illinois Wesleyan and Wilmington late the previous weekend.

This time, Tufts held on to its lead and spent the entirety of the second half up by double digits, despite Ferris, Palleschi, senior Scott Anderson and junior Oliver Cohen playing only four combined minutes in the second half.

“Last year, and early this year, we would sometimes play down to our opponents,” Ferris said. “But I thought we came out in these games and did what we needed to do and took care of business.”

The Jumbos had little time to bask in the glow of their victory, as they got right back to work on Saturday when they traveled to Suffolk. But in a new location, the result was the same, as Tufts got out to an early lead, and, after a little back−and−forth action, blew its opponent off the court.

Palleschi once again led the way in the first half with 10 points, but he got help from all of his teammates, with Moss and Anderson both chipping in nine and freshman guard Stephen Haldyna adding eight off the bench.

The Jumbos ended the first half with another comfortable lead, 55−37, thanks to 63.6−percent shooting from behind the arc, with three 3−pointers coming from Moss.

“We shot the lights out,” Ferris said. “We moved the ball well; we got a lot of touches in the paint because our big men were getting steals, and then they went and finished or they kicked out for an open shooter, or our guards did a good job of penetrating and making decisions from there.”

Despite the bench’s getting extended minutes in the second half for the second straight game, the Jumbos continued to pour on the points, with Ferris scoring 12 after halftime, and the team shooting above 60 percent from three−point range again.

For the Rams, an impressive 27−point performance from senior forward Colin Halpin was marred by shoddy defense, which allowed five Jumbos to score in double digits and a 56−36 second half score line in the 111−76 loss.

“It was reassuring to get these wins,” Ferris said. “We know we’re a good team. We really played well this weekend and it didn’t matter who we were playing, we knew we were going to win those games. It was just fun to go out there and really stomp on some teams, move the ball and make some plays. It was a good feeling.”

Ferris and the Jumbos get a break before they look to build a three−game winning streak against Williams on Jan. 4.

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