Amherst Edges Elms 73-67; Olson Scores 1,000th Point

Olson 1000th #2
Senior captain Andrew Olson
scored his 1,000th point against
Elms this evening.

CHICOPEE, MA – The third-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team traveled south this evening to face local rival Elms College in non-conference play at McGuire Gymnasium. Amherst edged the Blazers 73-67, while senior captain Andrew Olson scored his 1,000th career point in the win.

Amherst opened the game with two straight half court sets that each resulted in an easy lay-in, before senior Brandon Jones (Hopatcong, NJ) dropped in a transition bucket to give the Jeffs an early 6-1 lead. Elms was held without a field goal for the first 6:16 of the game, while Amherst opened up a 9-3 lead.

At the 9:26 mark, Amherst senior Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) kept the Amherst lead at five points with a one-for-two trip to the line. The reigning NESCAC Player of the Week left the Jeffs up 14-9.

A 5-0 run from the Blazers’ Juan Galdon knotted the score up at 14-14 with less than eight minutes left in the first half. After a three point play in transition from Ronald Thomas, Elms held its first lead of the game at 17-14.

Olson ended the 8-0 Elms run with a three pointer in the left corner. Jones gave Amherst a 19-17 lead with 2:10 to play on a nice feed down low from junior Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY).

After a Blazer triple, senior Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) picked off an Elms pass and went fifty feet for a lay-up and the foul. After Goldsmith missed the foul shot, an Amherst offensive rebound led to a three from Bradley on the right wing.

On the final possession of the first half, a broken play led to a desperation three point attempt from Walters on the left wing. The swingman was fouled in the act, and nailed all three free throws to give Amherst a 29-23 lead heading into the locker room.

Walters led all scorers with eight points and eight rebounds in the first half, while Olson had seven points as well for the Lord Jeffs. Galdon and Thomas paced Elms with seven apiece while Malakie Berry grabbed eight boards for the Blazers.

The Lord Jeffs started the second half with a 7-2 run, capped by a baseline slam from senior Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY). After a three from Aswad Thomas, Amherst’s Jones hit a pair of foul shots to keep the lead in double-digits at 38-28.

A strong post move on the right block from Jones at the 13:10 mark gave Amherst a 45-37 lead. After an emphatic dunk from Berry, Goldsmith responded with a nice left-handed hook in traffic to leave Amherst up 47-43 with 11:19 to play.

Amherst was powered by strong play on the offensive glass, as back-to-back rebounds from Goldsmith led to second chance buckets for teammates. Despite the performance, a three from Elms with just over seven minutes to play cut the lead to 56-52.

The two sides traded buckets, and with 5:45 to play, Amherst held just a 58-56 edge. Following an Amherst timeout, Walters dropped home a reverse lay-up on the front end of a three point play to increase the lead to five points.

Galdon cut the score to 61-60 with 3:11 to play on a highlight reel floater in the middle of the lane. Junior Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) brought the lead back to two points with a one-for-two trip to the line, and then Amherst forced a bad shot with tough defense.

With 1:45 left in the second half, Walters drove left and hammered home a dunk on half of the Elms line-up as the shot clock expired. The flush gave the Lord Jeffs a 64-60 lead, before Galdon knocked down two free throws to answer.

Amherst ran time off the shot clock and called a timeout with 57.1 seconds remaining, holding on to the 64-62 lead. Walters hit a short jumper in the lane to double the lead for Amherst. On the following trip down the court, Amherst forced Elms into an off-balance shot that caromed off the rim to Walters for his 10th rebound.

Olson was fouled with 27.0 seconds left, and hit both free throws to extend the lead to 68-62. Galdon went coast-to-coast with just 5.8 coming off the clock to make a lay-up with 21.2 remaining. After the inbound play, Olson was fouled once again and went to the line for a pair.

The captain made both shots once again to bring his career scoring total to 1,001 points. Olson is the 22nd player in Amherst College men’s basketball history to reach the 1,000 point milestone.

After a Ronald Thomas three pointer from the left wing, Brandon Jones made a pair of foul shots to give Amherst a 72-67 lead. A pair of last second shots from Elms did not fall, before a single foul shot with 1.1 to go capped the game in Amherst’s favor at 73-67.

Walters led all scorers with 19 points and 11 rebounds, all on the defensive end. Olson dropped 16 points and dished out seven assists in the win. Aswad Thomas paced Elms with 16 points, while Galdon finished with 15 points.

Amherst improves to 11-2 with the win, while Elms falls to 9-5. The Jeffs will open NESCAC play this Friday when Tufts comes to LeFrak for a 7 p.m. tip.