Friday, April 4, 2003
Written by Julie Fox

MEN'S BASKETBALL SEASON BETTER THAN 12-13 FINISH INDICATES

MEDFORD -- The Tufts University Men's Basketball team ended an inconsistent 2002-03 season with a close 64-63 loss to eventual NCAA Division III National Champion Williams College in the second round of the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Tournament on March 1.  Head Coach Bob Sheldon's team finished with a 12-13 record, identical to their 2001-02 season record. The Jumbos were 5-4 in the NESCAC, their best conference record since the 1999-2000 season, and good enough for third place.

Despite their inconsistencies, the Jumbos had several great performances over the course of the season.  An 83-66 triumph over NESCAC rival Amherst College on January 31 was the biggest win of the season.  Sophomore Reggie Stovell (Washington, DC/Hotchkiss) led the Jumbos with 20 points, including a thunderous dunk and subsequent free throw to complete a three-point play late in the game.  Amherst, who was undefeated in NESCAC at the time, ended up in first place in the conference after the regular season, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight.

With an 89-81 home victory over Middlebury on February 22 in the first round of the NESCAC Tournament the team recorded its first NESCAC Tournament victory in the three years of the tournament's existence.  Sophomore center Craig Coupe (Niskayuna, NY/Niskayuna) led the Jumbos with 19 points and added 13 rebounds as Tufts avenged an 89-83 loss suffered at the hands of the Panthers just eight days before.

After losing to Williams by 20 points earlier in the season, the Jumbos came up just short in the semi-finals of the NESCAC Tournament. Senior guard Mike McGlynn (Medford, MA/Arlington Catholic) scored 15 points and dished out seven assists to lead the Jumbos.  Williams, ranked #3 in the country at the time, eventually won the NESCAC Tournament over Amherst, 74-70. The Jumbos twice could not capitalize on opportunities to win the game in the closing seconds.

The team also saw two players reach individual milestones this season.  Senior co-captain Brian Shapiro (Swampscott, MA/Swampscott) became the 22nd player in Tufts history to score 1,000 points, scoring it in a 95-82 win over Wheaton College on January 21.  He finished his career with 1,116 points, placing him 11th on the Tufts all-time scoring list.  He had the team's highest scoring game of the season with 27 points versus Springfield on November 26.

McGlynn, who transferred from nearby Brandeis University after his sophomore season, reached two milestones this season.  With four three-point field goals in an 89-71 win over NESCAC rival Colby College on February 8 he reached 300 career three-point field goals made.  He finished his career with 306 three-point field goals made.  Going into this season, only 21 players in Division III history had ever accomplished that feat. With 12 points in the Jumbos' win over Amherst McGlynn also reached 1,500 career points.  He finished his career with 1,617 points.  His 17.0 points per game this season ranked fifth in the NESCAC, and his free-throw percentage of .789 ranked seventh in the NESCAC.  Named to the All-NESCAC First Team, McGlynn scored a season-high 26 points versus Trinity on February 1.

Coupe was also one of the league's better players. The 2002 NESCAC Rookie of the Year, he led the team and the NESCAC, and was sixth in the nation with 11.4 rebounds per game. That doubled with his 13.7 points per game, which ranked 13th in the NESCAC.  He also led the team with 1.8 blocked shots per game, which ranked fourth in the NESCAC, and in field goal percentage, with a .544 percentage that ranked fifth in the NESCAC. He blocked six shots at Salem State on January 11. Selected to the All-NESCAC Second Team, Coupe had 21 rebounds at Clark on December 7 and 20 at Middlebury on February 14.

Fellow sophomore Stovell, a strong 6'5" forward, was also among NESCAC leaders in several categories.  His .524 field goal percentage ranked seventh in the NESCAC, and his .782 free throw percentage was ninth.  He also recorded 7.3 rebounds per game, good for 10th in the NESCAC, and pulled down 20 at MIT on December 5.  Stovell was fifth on the team with 9.9 points per game.

Senior co-captain Jim Wilson (Rockland, ME/Landon Rockport) was fourth on the team in scoring with 10.2 points per game and first on the team in assists, with 2.84 per game, and steals, with 1.16 per game.  When former point guard Phil Barlow was injured early last season and decided not to play this year, Wilson was thrust into the role and performed well despite being out of position. Junior forward Deyvehn East (Greenfield, MA/Greenfield) was promoted into a starting role around the midpoint of the season and responded by averaging 6.8 points per game, as well as 3.6 rebounds per game. He was the top defensive player on the Jumbos, playing against the opponents' top scorer.

Blaine Lay (Rockville, MD/Mercersburg Academy) had a good freshman season in a reserve role, hitting 57.8% (52/90) of his shots to score 5.3 points per game.  He also averaged 4.3 rebounds per game, third-most on the team. Senior Colin Wetherill (Wilmington, DE/Tatnall) also came off the bench to help out in the frontcourt, averaging 1.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in eight minutes per game.

Freshman Dan Martin (Sandwich, MA/Phillips Andover) and junior guard Eric Mack (Fall River, MA/St. Andrews, RI) started the season with injuries, but joined the team mid-season to make contributions. Martin scored 2.9 points per game with 1.8 rebounds, while Mack ran the point and averaged 1.4 assists. Sophomore transfer Andrew Kaklamanos (Jupiter, FL/Jupiter) missed games in the middle of the season with an injury and finished with 2.1 points per game, including seven three-poiners. All three look to play larger roles in 2003-04.

Sophomore Jesse Belodoff (Newton, MA/Millburn), freshman Scott Armstrong (Rockville, MD) and senior Bisi Ezeolu (Elmhurst, NY/Xavier) saw limited action this season, combining for 23 points.

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