Jeffs Get Back on Track with 73-66 Win at Lasell

Senior Brandon Jones led Amherst with 18 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.

By Alex Kantor

NEWTON, MA – The fourth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team looked to rebound from its first loss of the season in non-conference action at Lasell College this evening. The Lasers were without their leading scorer, Jamie Crawford, due to an injury, putting the team in an early hole against the defending national champions without his 28 points-per-game. The teams were notched at halftime, 31-31, but Amherst pulled away for the 73-66 victory.

Amherst took a 10-6 lead just over four minutes into the game on a beautiful no-look pass from senior captain Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) to Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) on the left block. The junior forward finished at the rim for his second bucket of the game.

Lasell’s Jose Guitian closed the gap to 13-12 on his second three pointer of the night, this time from deep in the left corner. After an Amherst turnover, the Lasers took their first lead of the game on a lay-in from Dwayne Powell.

With 9:42 left, senior Brandon Jones (Hopatcong, NJ) made one of two from the charity stripe to leave Amherst trailing 19-17. Coming out of timeout, Olson grabbed a loose ball on the defensive end, and assisted to Jones in transition.

Jones cleaned up a miss from classmate Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) to give the lead back to the Lord Jeffs at 21-19. Amherst stretched the lead out to four at 25-21, but the Lasers responded with five quick points to take a 26-25 lead with 4:51 remaining.

Amherst caught a break with less than two minutes to play in the half when Guitian missed three straight free throws, failing to stretch the lead from above. With 8.0 seconds remaining, senior Fletcher Walters (Ann Arbor, MI) made a pair from the free throw line to tie the game up at 31 apiece heading into halftime.

Guitian led all players in scoring at the break with 11 points, while Olson and Jones paced the Lord Jeffs with 8 apiece. Jones grabbed five rebounds, three of which came on the offensive glass.

Amherst started the half on a 6-0 run in less than two and a half minutes of play, with Olson dishing out two assists on the three buckets. Olson assisted on a transition alley-oop to Jones to stretch the lead to 41-33.

Jones continued to be a workhorse on the offensive end for Amherst, as he corralled an arrant ball and put a nice post move on his defender to bring his point total to a dozen. Powell closed the deficit to 51-48 on three consecutive lay-ups in traffic, forcing Amherst into a full timeout.

First-year Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) made the first three pointer of the game for Amherst to stretch the advantage to 57-50 with less than six minutes to play in the second half. Amherst started the game 0-for-15 from long range before Meehan’s three.

Lasell buried three pointers on consecutive possessions to close the gap to 61-57 with 3:37 remaining. The Lasers' hot shooting from three point range, compared to Amherst’s ice cold shooting from distance, continued to be the difference in the game.

After a pair of Amherst turnovers with 1:39 remaining, Lasell held the ball trailing 63-60 with a chance to tie. Jones made a tough lay-up on the right block to give Amherst a 65-60 lead. After Powell missed a runner in the lane, Olson was fouled on the rebound. With three fouls to give, and 50.1 on the clock, Amherst would not go to the line. Lasell continued to foul Olson until he was sent to the line for a pair of scores.

On the ensuing possession, Guitian finished a three-point play to cut the lead back to four points at 67-63. Time ran down with Amherst continuing to make free throws to close out a 73-66 win.

Guitian led all scorers with 21 points, while Jones paced the Jeffs once again with 18 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. Walters also finished with a double-double, chalking up 15 points and 12 boards. Amherst improves to 7-1 with the win, while Lasell falls to 4-4 on the year.