NEWARK, N.J. — With four players scoring in double figures, the Washington and Lee men's basketball team opened the season on Friday with a 79-68 victory over Tufts at the John K. Adams Tip-Off Classic hosted by Rutgers-Newark.
Junior guard Kevin Gill (Richmond, Va./Benedictine) led the Generals (1-0) with 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe. Gill also recorded four rebounds and four assists.
The Generals shot 50.9 percent (28-55) from the field and a scorching 60.0 percent (6-10) from behind the three-point line.
W&L never trailed in the contest and took a 3-0 lead on the first possession off the tip off a three-pointer by guard Javon McDonald (Schaumburg, Ill./Schaumburg). The Generals scored 17 of the games' first 22 with six players putting points on the board to take a 17-5 lead at the 13:21 mark.
Tufts (0-1) scored nine of the next 13 points to cut the lead to 21-14, but a layup by McDonald and back-to-back scores by sophomore guard Clay McLean (Charlotte, N.C./Davidson Day) stretched the advantage back to double digits, 27-14, with 7:47 left in the half. The Generals kept attacking and a three by sophomore forward Patrick O'Connor (Richmond, Va./Douglas Freeman) with 36 seconds left in the period gave the team a 37-22 lead at intermission.
Tufts' sophomore guard Ben Ferris came out attacking in the second and cut the W&L advantage to 10, 42-32, on four baskets. After junior forward Larry Whitaker (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) split a pair of free throws, senior forward J.D. Ey (Charlotte, N.C./Myers Park) answered the Jumbo's run with two layups to move the lead back to 15, 47-32, with 12:27 left in the contest.
Tufts made one last push with nine straight points punctuated by a jumper by first-year center Tom Palleschi to move within eight, 49-41, with 8:40 remaining on the clock. W&L responded and regained a 13-point lead, 56-43, on a three by McDonald and a layup by O'Connor.
Despite a full-court press the remainder of the game, the Jumbos could not get any closer than eight points. The Generals made their free throws down the stretch to secure the 79-68 victory.
Besides Gill, Ey, McDonald and McLean all had double digits. McLean notched 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting. McDonald recorded 14 points with three three-pointers, and Ey stuffed the stat sheet with 10 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four blocks. Junior forward Jonathan Rice (Fayetteville, N.C./Terry Sanford) led the team with nine boards.
Ferris finished the contest with a game-high 18 points and had six rebounds and two assists. Senior center Matt Lanchantin grabbed seven rebounds and netted nine point. The Generals' defense held Tufts to 36.7 percent (22-60) shooting from the field and 25.0 percent (4-of-16) from behind the arc. Both teams struggled taking care of the ball with W&L turning it over 24 times and Tufts 21.
The Generals will play in the championship game of the classic at 4:00 pm, and will play the winner of the Rutgers-Newark-Brooklyn game played later on Friday.
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