Feb. 4, 2009
NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA-The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth's men's basketball team used 20 steals to force 29 turnovers and defeated visiting Tufts, 91-76, in a non-conference game at the Tripp Athletic Center Wednesday evening.
The Corsairs, who came into the game ranked 17th in the latest d3hoops.com poll, had 15 steals and forced 20 turnovers in the first half, which ended with the Corsairs on top, 46-37. Junior guard Jeff Macchi (Franklin, MA/Franklin HS), who had five steals in the first half and finished with seven overall, sparked the Corsairs' offense early, opening up with a three-pointer and a pair of jump shots as UMass Dartmouth scored nine of the game's first 11 points. The Corsairs steadily increased their advantage until a layup by junior forward Matt Walker (Brockton, MA/Brockton HS) gave them an 18-point lead, 40-22, with 4:38 to play. Tufts rallied, using a 10-2 run at the end of the first half, capped by layups by sophomore forward Sam Mason (York, ME/Phillips Exeter), junior forward Jon Pierce (Belmont, MA/Phillips Exeter) and senior guard Aaron Gallants (Bangor, ME/Bangor HS) and went to the locker room at halftime trailing by nine points.
A layup by junior forward Dave Beyel (Ocean City, NJ/Ocean City HS) at the outset of the second half made it 46-39, but junior forward Brandon Shelton (Cambridge, MA/Cambridge Rindge & Latin HS/UMass Lowell) connected on a layup and Walker made a layup and a three-pointer, and the Corsairs led by double digits for most of the remainder of the game.
Walker made nine of 11 shots from the field, and led all scorers with 21 points. Macchi had 19 points to go with his seven steals, junior guard Tyler Turtoro (Shelton, CT/Shelton HS) added 17 points, and Shelton contributed 14. Pierce led Tufts with 20 points, Gallant added 15 and junior center Tom Selby (Madison, WI/Madison West HS) added 13. Pierce had 11 rebounds as the Jumbos out rebounded the Corsairs, 45-22. But UMass Dartmouth only committed 10 turnovers while forcing 29, wound up with nine more field goal attempts than Tufts, and made 51.5 per cent of their shots from the field.
"We played hard, at a high tempo and with a lot of speed, and we forced a lot of turnovers, which was our goal," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach Brian Baptiste. "They're bigger than we are, and we had to make them play our game. We give up some turnovers, and with our style, we have to rest guys, but it works in our favor, and it puts us in a better position down the stretch. Our fans were great tonight; we appreciate their support, and thank them for coming out."
The Corsairs improved to 18-2 with the victory, while the Jumbos dropped to 9-12 with the defeat. UMass Dartmouth will return to action when they host Keene State in the second game of a Little East Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon. Tufts will host Trinity in a NESCAC game Friday evening.