The men's basketball team suffered its second loss of the season Saturday night when it came out on the short end of an 80-74 game at Springfield College. With the loss, the Jumbos drop to 3-2 on the year, while Springfield improves to 2-2.
While the final score was close, it took a late Tufts run to bring the Jumbos within striking distance as time ran down. The Pride maintained a double-digit lead throughout most of the second half and held a ten-point advantage with 2:25 remaining in the game.
Tufts scored the next five points, as sophomore guard Phil Barlow fed freshman center Craig Coupe on an inside lay-up and junior transfer Mike McGlynn hit a three on the Jumbos' next possession. But that was as close as Tufts would get, as Springfield went a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line in the final 1:12 to lock up the victory.
Tufts took the lead at the start, racing out to an 8-2 lead in the early going. Junior guard Brian Shapiro provided the offense for the Jumbos by converting on two of three three-point attempts then adding a lay-up off a steal by sophomore Phil Barlow.
But the Pride came marching back and pulled ahead just two minutes later, and the teams traded buckets to push the score to a 13-13 tie. Shapiro then hit a three to give the Jumbos the lead, but Springfield immediately went on a 12-2 run that was capped off by two three pointers by senior tri-captain John Gleason.
The Pride continued to knock down their shots and extended the margin to double digits with 6:29 left. It was high as 20 on a jumper by Gleason with 3:02 to play before the break. But McGlynn hit a trio of three pointers as the half came to a close, cutting the lead down to 13 as the teams headed to the locker room.
The Jumbos lived and died from the perimeter in the first half, taking a total of 20 three pointers, hitting seven of them (35 percent). The Pride took half as many, but were on fire from behind the arc, and also sunk seven (70 percent). Springfield shot a blistering 54.5 percent from the floor in the opening period. Gleason headed up the charge with 17 of his team's 48 points, including a perfect 5-5 from downtown.
But Tufts was able to slowly chip away at Springfield's lead in the second half. It lowered the margin to single digits on a free throw by freshman Craig Coupe with 15:35 remaining and as low as seven on a jumper by freshman Reggie Stovell a minute later.
But Springfield refused to let the Jumbos back into the game and rebuilt their lead back up to 14 with 7:22 left on a jumper by senior forward Michael Parker, who had ten points in the second half. Shapiro followed that shot with a three to cut the lead to 11, but Tufts hit a wall after that, and was not able score a single point over the next three minutes.
The Jumbos put together one last push down the final stretch to make things interesting, but could not complete the comeback.
Shapiro led the Jumbos on offense with 21 points on 8-19 shooting, including 5-15 on three pointers. McGlynn added another 18, while Coupe contributed 12 and a team-high six rebounds. Stovell also finished in double digits, hitting five of eight for ten points. Barlow had a season-high ten assists to go with his seven points.
The biggest difference in scoring between the two teams came at the free throw line. The Jumbos got to the stripe just eight times on the day, with Coupe shooting a ice-cold 2-7 (28.6 percent) and Shapiro missing Tufts' only other shot. The Pride, while not spectacular at 61.5 percent, Springfield got to the line 26 times, resulting in 16 points.
Tufts was also out-muscled on the inside, as Parker pulled down a game-high 15 boards to give the Pride a 42-34 advantage in rebounds.
The Jumbos will look to get back on the right track tomorrow night when they travel to Babson to take on the 4-1 Beavers. The team returns home Thursday to host MIT in its second home game of the season.