Medford, Mass. - Seniors D.J. Bailey (Palmer, Mass.) and Travis Curley (Trumbull, Conn.) combined for 22 second-half points as the visiting Clark University Cougars erased an 11-point second-half deficit and earned a 70-64 victory at Tufts in non-conference men's basketball action at Cousens Gym Monday night.
Bailey had 12 second-half points and finished with 18 as Clark improved to 11-12 overall. Curley scored 20 points on 6 for 12 shooting overall, 3 for 5 on three-pointers and 5 for 5 at the line. Tufts (16-8), which was playing in its regular-season finale, was led by 14 points from junior tri-captain Scott Anderson (Sudbury, Mass.).
The Jumbos led by as many as 12 points in the second half after a three-pointer by sophomore Kwame Firempong (Inglewood, Calif.) made it 29-17 with 3:30 to go until intermission. However, the Cougars pulled themselves back into the game by finishing the half on a 9-2 run that made it 31-26 Jumbos at the break. Curley had 10 points with six rebounds at the half for Clark, while Firempong's seven points led the Jumbos.
Tufts used the first five minutes of the second half to extend the margin to 11, 43-32, on a pair of free throws by Anderson with 14:53 on the clock. However, the Cougars turned the game around with a 22-2 stretch that gave them a 54-45 advantage with 7:13 remaining. Six players contributed to the run, including six points each by Curley and senior Mark Kruger (Athol, Mass.).
Tufts then initiated a 10-2 spurt featuring threes by Firempong and freshman Ben Ferris (Essex Junction, Vt.) that drew the hosts within one at 56-55 with 4:15 left. The Jumbos would never regain the lead though. Bailey made it 58-55 with a lay-up, and then sophomore Jake Gubitose (Fiskdale, Mass.) hit two free throws after Bailey was fouled intentionally and had to leave the game briefly.
The Jumbos were within three again (60-57) on a Firempong hoop at 1:24, but Clark was money at the free throw line to seal the victory. They were 12 for 12 at the line in the final 2:32, including 6 for 6 from Gubitose.
The Cougars finished at 18 for 23 (78.3 percent) from the line and were 48 percent (24/50) from the floor. Kruger made all four of his shots for eight points, while senior Drew Billington (Fairfield, Conn.) finished with seven assists. Senior Mitch Renshaw (Rutland, Mass.) recorded seven points, five rebounds and two steals.
Firempong added 12 points, four assists and two steals for Tufts, which lost its third straight. Senior Alex Orchowski (Cornwall, N.Y.) had six points and seven rebounds, while Ferris finished with five points, four rebounds, four steals and three assists.
The Jumbos host Bates on Saturday in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Championship beginning at 4:00 p.m. Clark hosts Springfield on Wednesday in a 7:00 p.m. NEWMAC game.