Jeffs Pick Up 83-66 Victory at Middlebury

Senior Fletcher Walters recorded a double-double in the Jeffs' win at Middlebury. 

Courtesy Middlebury College 

MIDDLEBURY, VT – The Amherst College men’s basketball team (15-2, 3-0) shot 49 percent from the floor and put four players in double-figures as the Lord Jeffs earned an 83-66 NESCAC road win at Middlebury College (13-3, 2-1). The win is the eighth straight for the Jeffs, who return to action at Williams on Saturday. Defending national champion Amherst entered the game ranked third nationally, as they topped the Panthers before a crowd of 955 in Pepin Gym.

Amherst came out strong early, connecting on 10 of its first 16 shots to hold a 26-13 lead with 9:36 left in the first half. Senior captain Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) sparked the Jeffs’ run with seven points in the early going. Middlebury answered with a 9-0 run to cut its deficit to 26-20 at the 7:09 mark. The teams exchanged hoops before Amherst went on a 9-0 run of its own to claim a 38-22 lead with 2:42 left in the first half. Ryan Wholey came off the bench to spark Middlebury late in the half, hitting a pair of threes with an assist and steal to make it a 40-30 game at the intermission.

The Panthers came within seven early in the second half on a hoop from Tim Edwards, but Amherst continued its hot shooting. The Jeffs led by a dozen midway through the half before connecting on three straight from behind the arc—a pair by sophomore Steven Wheeler (Bloomington, MN)—to take a 60-43 lead with 10:12 left to play. Middlebury made a few short runs in the final 10 minutes, but Amherst answered each time and maintained a double-digit lead.

Ashton Coghlan led Middlebury with 11 points, while Aaron Smith had nine points and 11 boards. Ben Rudin dished out seven assists in the game for the Panthers. Senior Brandon Jones (Hopatcong, NJ) led Amherst with a game-high 18 points, while Olson and senior Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) added 17 apiece and senior Kevin Hopkins (Greenfield Center, NY) netted 10. Olson earned seven assists, Walters grabbed 11 boards, while Hopkins picked up four blocks on the night.

The Lord Jeffs return to action at 4 p.m. tomorrow when they cap a doubleheader at Williams.