Cougars Take Down Tufts, 80-71

Medford, Mass. - Senior co-captain Mark Alexander (Providence, R.I.) scored 25 points as the visiting Clark University men's basketball team earned its first victory over Tufts University since December 2002 with an 80-71 final on Tuesday night at Cousens Gymnasium.

The Cougars built a 22-point lead in the second half before the Jumbos were able to creep back into it late, but Alexander's proficiency at the foul line (14-for-16) sealed the win.

Clark improved to 10-5 with their second straight victory, while Tufts, led by a game-high 31 points from senior tri-captain Jon Pierce, fell to 3-8 with its fourth loss in the last five games.

Clark used an early 11-2 run to lead 21-10 with 9:10 remaining in the first half. Alexander's three-pointer capped the stretch, which featured four different Cougars scoring points. The visitors continued to add to the margin in the first half going up by 20 (38-18) following an Alexander steal, a Tufts foul, and his free throw with 2:28 to go until intermission.

Clark led 44-29 at the break.

Sophomore Brian Vayda (Sturbridge, Mass.), who finished with 22 points, led Clark with 13 points in the first half. Pierce had 14 for the Jumbos.

Six points early in the second half by Pierce helped Tufts cut the deficit into single-digits, 48-39, at the 16-minute mark. However, the Cougars answered with a 17-4 stretch over the next seven minutes to take their largest lead of the game at 65-43 on Alexander's lay-up at 9:10 of the second half.

Freshman Scott Anderson highlighted a 12-2 Jumbo run with seven points to get the hosts back into the game within 10 at 69-59 with 4:34 remaining. Alexander's free throws kept the Clark lead in double digits until a pair of freebies by Tufts junior Matt Galvin made it a nine-point difference (74-65) with 1:28 to go.

Alexander continued to sink free throws, going nine for 10 in the final four minutes, negating the impact of two long-bomb three pointers by Tufts senior Dave Beyel with under a minute remaining.

Clark finished shooting 52.3 percent (23-of-44) for the night, including a seven for 12 effort by Vayda and five baskets on nine attempts by sophomore Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.), who scored 14 points.

Vayda's seven rebounds were a game-high, while both Alexander and senior Chris LoPiano (Franklin Square, N.Y.) added five assists and three steals each. The Cougars were 30 for 34 from the line (88.2 percent), compared to nine for 11 by Tufts.

Pierce, who scored on 15 of 22 field goal tries, added seven steals to his game. Beyel surpassed 20 points for the fourth straight game with 21.

Tufts opens their NESCAC schedule on Friday night at Williams, while Clark welcomes MIT for a NEWMAC contest on Saturday.

Cougars Escape With 54-46 Win
November 24, 2009 Cougars Escape With 54-46 Win