Men’s basketball split against NESCAC competition this week, dropping a game to Wesleyan (65–64) and earning a win at Bowdoin (74–53). The Jumbos faced the then-leader of the NESCAC, the Wesleyan Cardinals, and put up a good fight, falling just one point short of the victory. The Cardinals improved their conference record to 5–1 and overall record to 17–3. In Tuesday’s battle, the two teams were evenly matched throughout the contest with frequent lead changes and energetic game play from both sides. Using the momentum from a high-level game earlier in the week, Tufts secured a commanding win at Bowdoin on Friday night.
Against the Cardinals, junior guard Dylan Thoerner led the squad with 13 points. Senior center Luke Rogers secured 10 rebounds, three steals and three blocks for the night. Late into the contest, first-year center Trumann Gettings came off the bench and played some key productive minutes to keep the Jumbos within striking distance, contributing 11 points and five rebounds. With about seven seconds to win the game in the final possession, the Jumbos lost the ball at half court, securing Wesleyan a one point victory. Thoerner said while they did not secure the win, it was still a good game.
“It was just two good teams going at each other and it could’ve gone either way,” Thoerner said. “It was such a close game the entire time, the biggest lead was like only eight or nine points. Both teams were playing pretty well and how it ended up wasn’t in our favor. I think we still played a good game and even though we lost, I think we’re still proud of being able to hang with them and knowing we could’ve easily won that game if a few things went our way.”
In their bout with Bowdoin, Thoerner, Rogers and junior guard Tyler Aronson led the team to a confident win, improving their overall record to 8–9 and conference to 3–2. Thoerner and Aronson scored 25 and 20 points respectively. Rogers earned a double-double with 12 points and 17 rebounds, despite Bowdoin’s defensive focus on him. Thoerner described Bowdoin’s game play and Tufts’ response.
“During the game, they were really focusing on [Rogers] because they didn’t have as much size,” Thoerner said. “They were really double teaming him and putting a lot of pressure on him. Guys like [Aronson] made some big shots, and other guys had to step up because they were really focusing in on [Rogers].”
Heading into the last few weekends of conference play, Thoerner said focus is extremely important.
“[Everyone needs] to keep the focus and [make] sure they're locked in and they don’t give up anything,” Thoerner said. “We’re still in a position where we could be at the top of the league, or we could blow some games and be at the bottom. It's really important, these next four or five games, especially at home. We have to have that home court advantage and be able to capitalize on that.”
The team’s next games are on the road against Trinity and Connecticut College this weekend, Feb. 4 and 5.