Courtesy Amherst Sports Information
AMHERST, Mass. - Behind sophomore point guard Zak Ray's (Bangor, ME) 17 points and six assists, the third-seeded Bates College men's basketball team advanced to the NESCAC Tournament title game for the first time in school history with a 60-54 semifinal win over second-seeded Tufts University on Saturday. Bates will vie for its first-ever conference championship Sunday at noon against top-seeded and second-ranked host Amherst College, 75-72 winners over fourth-seeded Trinity College in Saturday's other semifinal. The winner will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Bates sealed the win with a backbreaking 10-0 run for a 54-45 lead midway through the second half. Tufts made it a one-possession game twice over the final three minutes but finished with an 0-for-6 shooting slump. In fact, both teams shot poorly - 36.5% (23-for-63) for Bates and just 35.5% (22-for-62) for Tufts - and each team committed 16 turnovers. Bates helped its cause by winning the battle on the boards 45-40 and hitting eight of its 11 free throw attempts.
Bates seniors Jon Furbush (S. Portland, ME) and Elliot Linsley (Murrieta, CA) joined Ray in double figures with 11 points each. Linsley also pulled down 10 rebounds, while sophomore teammate Rob Stockwell (Temple, NH) added nine points and 11 boards.
Senior Reggie Stovell (Washington, DC) was the lone Tufts player in double figures with 21 points to go along with a game-high 13 rebounds.
Bates improved to 19-7 and set a school record for wins in a season. Tufts ended its season at 16-10.