Hartford, Conn. – Sophomore forward Tom Palleschi (Haverhill, Mass.) scored 12 points, including the game-winning jumper with 13 seconds left, and blocked five shots to lead the visiting Tufts University Jumbos to a 59-55 win over the Trinity College Bantams in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men’s basketball action this afternoon on Stan Ogrodnik Court in Ray Oosting Gymnasium. Trinity falls to 13-4 overall and 3-1 in the NESCAC, while Tufts improves to 7-7 overall and moves to first place in the league at 3-0.
Trinity jumped out early to leads of 14-4 on a three-pointer by junior guard Rick Naylor (Sudbury, Vt.) with 13:21 on the clock and, 18-6, after a layup by sophomore forward Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) with 11:52 left in the first half. A jumper from the elbow by Bantam senior tri-captain Hart Gliedman (New York, N.Y.) gave Trinity a 26-14 advantage with 8:48 remaining before the break, but Tufts used a 13-2 run over next eight minutes to take its first lead at 29-28 with just under a minute on the clock thanks to a jumper by freshman guard Vincent Pace (Bridgewater, N.J.). Trinity sophomore swingman Chris Turnbull (Ridgwood, N.J.) answered with a three-point bucket, however, to send the teams to the locker rooms with the home team ahead, 31-29.
The second half was tight-knit throughout with neither team leading by more than two points from the 16:49 mark to the final seconds. Trinity junior forward Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored on a drive for the largest lead for either squad after halftime at 34-29 less than a minute into the second stanza, but sophomore center Hunter Sabety (Oceanside, N.Y.) answered for Tufts inside and the Jumbos went on to score the next four points for a 35-34 lead with 14:43 left to play. The lead changed five more times over the next 11-plus minutes, and a traditional three-point play by Ogundeko with 3:25 on the clock gave Trinity a 53-51 lead.
Just over a minute later, Tufts sophomore guard Tarik Smith (Bronx, N.Y.) made a pair of free throws to tie it at 55-all, and the Jumbos forced a turnover when the shot clock ran out Trinity’s ensuing possession. The Bantams returned the favor, forcing a desperation trey by Sabety as the Tufts shot clock expired, but were unable to capitalize when Ajayi’s driving layup missed and was rebounded by Sabety. After Smith fed Palleschi for what proved to be the game-winning shot from the foul line, a Trinity inbounds pass in its left corner bounced out of bounds and Smith drilled two free throws to put the game out of reach.
Trinity shot 36.5 percent from the field and 68.4 percent from the foul line, while Tufts was 22-for-48 (45.8 percent) from the floor and 14-for-15 (93.3) from the charity stripe. The teams finished tied on the boards at 32 each after Trinity had held a 19-13 edge in the first half. Ogundeko paced Trinity with 14 points and seven rebounds, while senior tri-captain center George Papadeas (Athens, Greece) scored 10 points. Ajayi contributed seven points and a game-high eight rebounds, while Starks and junior guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) dished four assists apiece. Sabety and Smith both had 14 points for Tufts, with Sabety adding six boards and connecting on seven of 11 shots from the floor and Smith making all seven of his free throws.