After splitting its first two games of the season last week, the men's basketball team opened its season at home Sunday night with an exciting 100-96 overtime victory over the Salem State Vikings. The Jumbos, now 2-1, shot 53.5 percent from the field, including 48.1 percent from three-point land (13-27), en route to their highest point total of the young season.
Junior transfer student Mike McGlynn, playing in his first game in Cousens Gym as a Jumbo, led the way for Tufts with 26 points. McGlynn was 9-12 from the field and an 6-9 from beyond the arc. Junior Brian Shapiro also chipped in 19 points and five assists.
Despite leading early, it took overtime for Tufts to pull out the victory. After Salem State junior Victor Paulino missed a jumper and Tufts sophomore Phil Barlow's desperation three bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded, the teams entered the extra frame tied at 85.
In overtime, the Jumbos shot a blistering 71.4 percent, and Shapiro's three at 2:36 put Tufts up 96-90. Salem State would get as close as 96-93, but Tufts was able to hold on down the stretch to notch the victory against the highly touted Vikings.
"They're ranked high, but they actually lost last week to Franklin and Marshall, which is ranked fourth in the nation, in a pretty good game," coach Bob Sheldon said. "It was the first time we've beaten them since any of our guys have been here."
Earlier in the game, it didn't seem Tufts would have it so tough. The Jumbos came out firing, and built up a 28-16 lead with 11:08 remaining in the first half. A three by McGlynn with 3:38 left put Tufts up 44-35, but the visiting Vikings scored the final nine points of the half to close the gap to 46-44 at the break. McGlynn finished the half with 18 points.
For most of the second half of play, the Jumbos maintained a single digit lead, until Paulino connected on a layup with 3:27 remaining to knot the score at 79. The Vikings managed two one point leads, the last at 84-83. Tufts held strong in a dogfight down the stretch, leading into overtime.
Tufts stuck to its game plan throughout the contest, launching 27 threes in fast-paced play. The trio of McGlynn, Shapiro, and Barlow led the way for the Jumbos, with 26, 19, and 16 points, respectively.
"We shot 53 percent for the game and 43 percent from threes," Sheldon said. "And that's what we've been predicating things from. We based everything around our one, two, three guys and they combined for 61 points."
The three have fed well off of each other so far this season. When all three are shooting well, the team is able to score big, as evidenced by Sunday night's 100-point outburst.
"If Brian's off a little bit, [McGlynn] picks it up, if [McGlynn] is off, then Phil picks it up." Sheldon said. "Its pretty tough to shut down three outside shooters."
Junior Colin Wetherill chipped in Sunday with six points and eight rebounds, while classmate Kyle Van Natta added eight points and six boards. Freshman Craig Coupe had another strong game down low, coming off the bench to score 14 points and pull down eight rebounds.
Senior co-captain Bobby MacMannis and junior Jim Wilson (two steals) also had big games defensively. "Bobby and Jim Wilson played great defense," Sheldon said. "They got some steals when we needed them."
The Jumbos take to the court again tonight for a 7:30 p.m. match at Suffolk.