Medford, Mass. - Senior captain Shay Ajayi (Brooklyn, N.Y.) scored a career-high 26 points with 16 rebounds as the Trinity College earned an 88-76 victory at Tufts in New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) men's basketball action Friday night in Medford. The Bantams entered the game second in the conference while Tufts was third. Trinity is now 15-6 overall and 6-1 in NESCAC action while Tufts dropps to 16-5 and 5-3.
Junior Tom Palleschi (Haverhill, Mass.) had 25 points, seven rebounds and five blocks for Tufts, who never led in the game while sophomore Vincent Pace (Bridgewater, N.J.) added 21 points with six rebounds and three steals.
The Bantams had opened a 19-10 lead at 10:48 of the first half as Ajayi scored the team's first six points and five players overall contributed to the early lead. The Jumbos came back to tie the score at 34-34 by halftime as Palleschi scored 12 points in the first 20 minutes. Ajayi had 11 for Trinity.
The Bantams scored the first eight points of the second half to lead 42-34 on a pair of free throws by Ajayi before a pair of free throw by freshman Erick Santana made it 56-48 with 12:40 to play. The Jumbos erased the deficit with a 10-2 run that produced the 58-58 deadlock. Neither team scored for the next two minutes until the Bantams initiated a 12-1 run which gave them a 70-59 lead with 5:21 to play. Sophomore Eric Gendron (Merrimack, N.H.) scored six points and Ajayi had four during the Bantam stretch. The Jumbos would get the margin down to nine, three times in the final five minutes, including 76-67 on a pair of Palleschi free throws with 3:09 on the clock. However, Trinity was able to convert numerous lay-ups and went seven for eight at the line down the stretch to secure the win.
Trinity finished with a 53.4 field goal percentage as they made 17 of 30 second-half shots. Ajayi made eight of 12 shots and was nine for 11 from the line. Trinity was +10 in rebounds as junior Ed Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y.) grabbed seven to go with 12 points. Gendron added 17 points for the winners while Santana had 10 and senior captain guard Andrew Hurd (Windsor, Conn.) finished with eight points and six assists. The Bantams shot 55.6% from three-point land.
The Bantams return to action tomorrow, February 6, when they travel to Maine to take on the Bates Bobcats. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.