Men's Basketball Falls to Middlebury, 85-72; Jeffs Earn No. 6 Seed

Spencer Noon '13 scored a career-high 14 points in the
loss to Middlebury as Amherst earned the No. 6 seed
in the upcoming NESCAC Championship.

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s basketball team played host to 7th-ranked Middlebury College this afternoon in the 2010 regular season finale for the Lord Jeffs. Amherst was unable to avoid a sixth-straight conference loss, falling 85-72 to drop to 14-10 (3-6 NESCAC) on the year. The win improves Middlebury’s record to 21-2 (8-1) heading into its regular season finale on Tuesday night at Green Mountain State.

Despite, the loss, Amherst was able to earn the No. 6 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship, and will travel to face No. 3 seed Colby College next Saturday at 4 p.m.  Middlebury earned the No. 2 seed with the win, and will host No. 7 Trinity at 3 p.m.

The first five minutes of play had Amherst and Middlebury going back and forth, with senior tri-captain DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI) making a layup at the 14:54 mark to tie the game 12-12. Carcieri made his seventh start of the season this evening on Senior Day. Classmate Steven Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) was unable to get going early on, but made a pair of threes in the game to move into second place on Amherst’s all-time three-point list with 191 career field goals from long range.

Following the Carcieri score that tied the game, Middlebury responded with an 11-0 run to take a 23-12 lead. During the scoring spurt, Nolan Thompson made a three and Middlebury center Andrew Locke scored in the paint. Middlebury’s lead grew to 30-15 as Locke made his presence felt on the defensive end, before Amherst made its next run at the Panthers. The Lord Jeffs went to rookie Peter Kaasila (Plaistow, NH) to combat the impact of the 6’10 Locke, and the Amherst big man sparked a comeback to close the gap to 38-32 in the final minutes of the first half.

At the half, Middlebury held a 46-38 lead as Amherst’s Willy Workman (Northampton, MA) scored with one second remaining in the frame.  The second stanza saw the Middlebury lead hover around 10 points until the middle of the half. Workman and Kaasila lifted Amherst to a 5-0 run, and with 10:02 remaining, Amherst trailed just 63-58.

With just under six minutes to play, Middlebury got back-to-back scores from Ryan Wholey to open up a 72-61 lead. Wholey took over the game for the Panthers down the stretch, making a handful of free throws and playing solid defense to go alongside Locke. Wholey finished the night with 22 points to lead all players as Middlebury closed out the game 85-72.

Locke scored 17 points before fouling out, but made a his impact on defense where he had a career-high eight blocks to help his case for a second-straight NESCAC Defensive Player of the Year award. Ryan Sharry also added a double-double for Middlebury, adding 14 points and 12 rebounds in the win. Amherst was paced by Kaasila’s 17 points on 6-for-12 shooting, while Spencer Noon (Unionville, CT) had a career-high 14 points off the bench.