MEDFORD - The Tufts men's basketball team out-scored Bowdoin College 21-4 over the final eight minutes to earn an 82-71 victory over the Polar Bears in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Championship on Saturday at Cousens Gym.
The Jumbos (17-8) advance to the conference semi-finals for the first time since 2006. They will play #1 seed and host Amherst next Saturday (Feb. 23). Bowdoin, which ralled from a six-point halftime deficit to twice lead by six in the second half, finishes its season at 14-10.
Sophomore Ben Ferris, who scored six points during the late Jumbo run, led all scorers with 24 to go with nine rebounds. Senior co-captain Scott Anderson scored 20 with nine rebounds for the Jumbos. Junior co-captain Kwame Firempong had six of his 11 points during the decisive stretch.
Andrew Madlinger had 22 points, including five three-pointers in the loss for Bowdoin. Keegan Pieri had 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists while Bryan Hurley had 11 points and nine assists in the game.
Bowdoin produced a 14-2 run in the second half to turn a 56-50 deficit into a 64-58 lead after a pair of free throws by sophomore Bryan Hurley with 9:52 on the clock. He had four points during the stretch and the Polar Bears got threes from Madlinger and Pieri.
A free throw by Anderson and a jumper by freshman Tom Palleschi got the Jumbos within three (64-61) at 8:59, but another Bowdoin three by junior Grant White returned a six-point (67-61) advantage to the Polar Bears with 8:16 remaining.
However, Bowdoin would miss its next 11 shots down the stretch. In addition to Ferris and Firempong, senior Matt Lanchantin (Natick, MA) contributed five points late to help Tufts pull away. He was one of three Jumbos honored on Seniors Day prior to the game.
Tufts led for the enitre first half after Anderson opened the scoring with a three. They were up by as many as eight points twice, including 40-32 after a Ferris three-pointer with 2:11 to go until intermission.
Anderson had 15 at halftime to lead Tufts, while Ferris was at 13. Madlinger sank three three-pointers in the first half and had 14 points for the Polar Bears.
The Jumbos shot 9 for 18 from three-point land overall, with Ferris making 4 of 8 to lead the way. They also dominated the boards 43-26, including 15 on the offensive end. Lanchantin added seven boards to go with seven points. Palleschi finished with 12 points and six rebounds. Junior Oliver Cohen recorded a career-high 10 assists. The Jumbos out-scored Bowdoin 25-11 at the free throw line.
The game featured just 17 total turnovers (eight by Bowdoin).