Jeffs Drop Heartbreaker at Tufts, 69-68

Allen Williamson '13 had 14 points and three assists in Amherst's 69-68 loss at Tufts.

Courtesy of Tufts University

MEDFORD, MA – In comeback fashion, the Tufts University men’s basketball team squeaked out a 69-68 victory over the Amherst College Lord Jeffs in NESCAC action Saturday afternoon at Cousens Gymnasium. Amherst drops to 14-7 (3-4 NESCAC), while Tufts improves to 6-16 (2-6 NESCAC).

The Jumbos had lost eight consecutive meetings with the Jeffs dating back to the 2003-04 season. Amherst—which has lost four of its past five games—is now tied with Bowdoin and Trinity for fifth place in the NESCAC standings.

The first half of the game saw eight ties as the action went back-and-forth. Amherst took control late in the half to hold a five-point advantage entering the break, 43-38. The Lord Jeffs shot 65.4-percent (17-for-26) from the field and were 5-for-8 from three-point range. Senior tri-captain Jon Pierce, one of six Jumbos playing on Senior Day at Cousens, kept the hosts in it with 15 first-half points.

Amherst extended the lead to as many as 10 points (53-43) with 13:46 to go, but at that point the Jumbos began their quest back. Senior Dave Beyel tied it up at 61-61 with a lay-up and finished the three-point play at the foul line with 4:34 left. Beyel totaled a game-high 23 points on 9-of-13 shooting.

The Lord Jeffs were able to regain the lead and push it back up to five points (66-61) with 2:58 remaining. However, with Amherst holding a 68-64 lead, Tufts first-year Scott Anderson scored a bucket and was fouled with 1:14 to go. He completed the three-point play to get the Jumbos within one at 68-67. On the other side of the floor, Jumbo junior Matt Galvin forced a turnover and after a timeout on the ensuing Tufts possession, Pierce scored the go-ahead bucket with just 34 seconds left in regulation.

Amherst had a couple of chances to take the lead in the waning moments, but Pierce came through with a key block and the Jumbos hung on for the 69-68 win. Pierce ended the game with 22 points and five blocks. Anderson also finished in double-figures for the Jumbos with 15.

Sophomore Jeff Holmes (Saunderstown, RI) scored a team-high 16 points for the Lord Jeffs in the losing effort, while first-year Allen Williamson (Saugus, MA) added 14 off the bench. Sophomore Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) was 3-for-3 from the floor—all three-pointers—for nine points and nine boards. Senior tri-captain DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI) totaled nine points, five rebounds, six assists, a block and two steals. Tufts held Amherst to just 40.9 percent (9-for-22) from the field in the second half.

The Lord Jeffs will return to action Tuesday, Feb. 9, when they travel to take on Brandeis University at 7 p.m.