Date: Thursday, February 27, 2003
Written by Elliott Wiley


MEDFORD -- The third seeded Tufts University Men's Basketball team (12-12) travels to Amherst College to play the second seeded Williams College Ephs (24-1) in the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament this Saturday at 4 pm. This is the furthest Tufts has advanced in the tournament since it began in 2001.

This will be Tufts and Williams' second meeting of the season, with the first going to the Ephs as they scored a 76-56 win at home in the last game of NESCAC regular season on February 15. Currently ranked third in the nation by, Williams has proved to be a tough opponent all season as its only loss was a 67-61 game at rival Amherst on January 25. Although the Jumbos sit at .500, they too have had big wins as they blew out top seeded Amherst 83-66 at home on January 31.

The Jumbos need another big win to keep this season alive. For success against Williams, senior guard Mike McGlynn must be at the top of his game. In the contest between the teams, McGlynn, who averages 17.1 points per game, finished with only one point after going 0-12 from the field. Senior co-captain Brian Shapiro also struggled in the game, missing all five of his three-point attempts and finishing with two points. One of the bright spots was the play of senior co-captain guard Jim Wilson, who went 5-9 to finish with 13 points. The Jumbos ended up shooting 29.2 percent to Williams 41.8 percent from the field. Junior guard Chuck Abba led Williams with 15 points. Abba shot 5-9 from the field, but hit four three-pointers along the way. Senior forward Drew DeMuth scored 13 points and controlled a team-high 12 rebounds, with six coming on the defensive and six coming on the offensive end. The Ephs had a total of four players scoring in double figures.

Williams averages 84.8 points a game with outstanding depth. The Ephs' leading scorer, junior guard Michael Crotty, averages 12.5 points per game. The second through fifth leading scorers also average double figures, with less than two points separating the team's top five. Williams relies on taking quality shots while denying opponents good looks. On the season, the Ephs' shoot 46 percent to competitors' 37 percent.

The Jumbos roll into their game against the Ephs coming off an 89-81 first round victory over Middlebury. Playing at home, Tufts enjoyed its largest crowd of the season at an estimated 650 spectators. Sophomore center Craig Coupe was top dog as he brought down the house with a thunderous dunk en route to a game-high of 19 points. Coupe's 13 rebounds were second on the team to sophomore forward Reggie Stovell's 14. Stovell also shot 50 percent from the field, finishing with 16 points. Shapiro played 17 minutes and scored 17 points, igniting Jumbo runs in the process. Of his four three-pointers the most clutch took place with two seconds remaining in the first half. After letting the clock tick down to five seconds, Shapiro dribbled to the left wing, launched and drained a three to give the Jumbos a 41-39 halftime lead. Tufts was clicking on all cylinders as five players scored in double figures. The squad also pulled down 50 rebounds, with 18 of the boards being on the offensive end.

The Ephs trounced Bates College, 85-69, last Saturday in the first round of the NESCAC tournament. Williams' sixth man, senior forward Tim Folan, led the scoring with 21 points and DeMuth grabbed a team high 11 rebounds. The victory put the Ephs' perfect home record at 13-0.

Last season Tufts traveled to Williams and was defeated 81-57 in the first round of the NESCAC playoffs. Tufts' last victory over Williams was during the 1994-95 season when the Jumbos scored an 84-80 home win.