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Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Senior tri-captain Jon Pierce has scored more points than anyone in Tufts basketball history

MEDFORD -- By making the front-end of two free throws with 6:34 remaining in the second half of Tuesday night's Tufts University men's basketball game vs. UMass Dartmouth, Jumbo senior tri-captain Jon Pierce (Belmont, MA/Phillips Exeter) made history.

The point was the 1,786th of Pierce's career at Tufts, moving him past Greg Davis as the all-time leading scorer in the 106-year history of basketball at Tufts. Davis scored 1,785 points from 1982 through 1986, and his record stood for almost 24 seasons. Pierced led the Jumbos with a game-high 24 points against UMass Dartmouth, giving him 1,786 with at least three games remaining in his career.

"I'm very excited for Jon," Davis said during a phone call from Puerto Rico, where he's on vacation. "He's a nice young man. I met him a couple months ago after a game. I knew at some point that the record would be broken. I think he is a wonderful guy, and a good player, so I'm very happy for him."

Pierce took a circuitous route to becoming the all-time scoring leader at Tufts. Born in Wichita, he went to high school in Indiana and was a Division I prospect until a knee injury robbed him of his full explosiveness. He was committed to play at Wasbash College in Indiana, but learned that he could do a postgraduate year at a prep school. He went to Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. From there he enrolled at Drew University in New Jersey, but realized that the basketball team wasn't a good fit for him and never played.

Former Tufts assistant coach Reggie Hobbs had recruited Pierce at Exeter and never lost touch with him. In the fall of 2006, Pierce transferred to Tufts. The rest, now, is history.

A 6'5" forward with dynamic scoring ability, Pierce burst upon the scene at Tufts with 26 points in his first game for the Jumbos against Lasell on November 17, 2006. He went on to lead the team with 16.5 points per game and was named the New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Rookie of the Year. He had 10 games with 20+ points that year and finished the season with 397 points.

As a sophomore during the 2007-08 season, Pierce led the NESCAC in scoring with a 21.5 points per game average. He was an All-NESCAC Second Team performer and won two conference Player of the Week awards. Pierce recorded his first game of over 30 points with 36 against Babson on December 6 that year. His 516 points overall that season was the eight-best total for a year in Jumbo history, and gave him 913 career points through two seasons.

Pierce was selected as Preseason All-American prior to his junior season in 2008-09. He led the league in scoring again with 21.7 points per game, the best average at Tufts since 1995. He recorded his career-high to date with 40 points in the season-opener against Babson, then reached the 1,000 points career milestone at Brandeis on November 30. An All-Conference pick again, he finished the year with 521 points.

Entering this season, Pierce was eighth on the Jumbo career scoring list with 1,434 points. He closed in on the record by scoring 32 points at Wesleyan last Friday night, and then a conference-high for the year of 35 points at Connecticut College on Saturday afternoon. The performances earned him a fifth career NESCSAC Player of the Week award and Team of the Week honors. Pierce has 353 points this season.

"Jon has been very consistent since day one," Tufts coach Bob Sheldon said. "He's been our go-to guy for the last few years, so he's scored all of those points with other teams keying on him. It's a big thing. He broke a record that stood for almost a quarter-century, and it represents a program that has been around for over 100 years. He's come through for us a lot and we're proud that he has earned the right to hold such a prestigious record."

The new Jumbo scoring king established the record with excellent efficiency. In 92 career games at Tufts, Pierce has a .510 field goal percentage with 662 makes in 1,299 attempts. His 123 career three-pointers are ninth on the team's all-time list. His ability to get to the line, where he's attempted 532 free throws as a Jumbo, has also added to his scoring prowess. He has an impressive career scoring average of 19.4 points per game. Additionally, his 686 career rebounds are seventh all-time for the Jumbos.

The 1904-05 season was the first for Tufts basketball. The college did not field formal teams from 1911 through 1918. The current Tufts team is the 99th in the program's history.