MEDFORD, MA- The Wheaton College men's basketball team committed a season-high 30 turnovers while seeing a 15-point second-half lead disappear at non-league foe Tufts University on Tuesday night, as the Lyons dropped a 79-70 decision despite shooting a season-best 57.4 percent in Cousens Gymnasium.
Wheaton, which also held a 34-22 rebounding advantage, fell to 6-11, while the Jumbos won their third straight game to move above the .500 mark at 9-8.
Lyon senior Anthony Coppola (Watertown, MA/Watertown) continued his consistent scoring clip with a game-best 24 points and three steals. He shot 10-of-16 from the floor. Junior Shawn Daily (Mount Vernon, NY/Mount Saint Michael Academy) neared a double-double with a career-high 13 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore Brian Johnson (Roxbury, MA/Brimmer and May School) matched a career best with 13 markers.
Tufts had a balanced scoring attack, as five players scored at least nine points, including junior Amauris Quezada's (New York, NY/Hill School) and sophomore Alex Goldfarb's (New York, NY/Poly Prep Country Day School) team-high-tying 13 points. Quezada also had six steals. Two other Jumbos contributed 12 markers, while freshman Oliver Cohen (Penn Valley, PA/Lower Merion) added nine points and a game-best seven assists.
Wheaton rode hot shooting in the opening half, as the Blue and White shot a sizzling 64 percent en route to a 36-30 lead at the break. The hosts held a 10-4 edge nearly six minutes into action before the Lyons scored six straight to forge a tie. Wheaton grabbed its first advantage at 9:38, as sophomore Mike Hall's (Lynnfield, MA/Saint John's Prep) lay-up sparked an 11-0 run. Four different Lyons scored during that stretch, giving the Blue and White a 23-13 cushion at 6:56. Tufts three times cut its deficit to four before entering the locker room down by six.
Three-point buckets from Coppola and Johnson in the opening 50 seconds of the second half set the stage early on, with Wheaton in front by a 42-30 count. Leading 47-41 at 15:49, the Lyons went on a 9-0 run to gain the game's largest advantage at 56-41 with 11:53 left. Coppola dumped in seven points during the spurt. It was all Jumbos after that, as the hosts outscored Wheaton 38-14 in the final 11:35. Tufts went 12-of-17 from the floor in that time, while the visitors turned the ball over 12 times and shot 4-of-13.
Wheaton looks to get back on track at home on Thursday, when the Lyons host Worcester State University during their final non-conference game of the year at 7:00 p.m.