Amherst Comes Back to Beat Babson, 62-55

DJ Carcieri was the defensive stopper off the bench
Amherst needed against Babson
AMHERST, MA – The 9th-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team played host to Babson College this evening at LeFrak Gymnasium in non-conference action. The Lord Jeffs trailed for a majority of the game, but rallied late for a 62-55 win.

Babson jumped out of the gate at Amherst, riding a strong early game performance from Marcus Edwards. After just 3:10 of action, Babson led Amherst 9-2, with Edwards scoring all nine of the Beavers points. With 13:30 to play, Babson held strong, up 15-8, and was shooting a blazing 6-for-9 from the field.

At the midpoint of the first half, Babson remained up seven points at 17-10, and forced Amherst into a five-second call while trying to inbound the ball under the Babson basket. Over the next few minutes, Amherst was unable to cut into the Babson lead, and with 6:40 to play a three from Norm de Silva put the Beavers up 24-16.

The Lord Jeffs responded with a spark off the bench from senior Glenn Wong (Leverett, MA) and junior DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI). The duo helped bump up the Jeffs’ intensity on defense, leading to a 6-0 run. The Lord Jeffs took their first lead of the game at 27-26 on a pair of Carcieri free throws with 1:51 to play in the half.

Babson ultimately closed the stanza with a pair of scores to take a 30-27 lead into the locker room. At the break, Edwards led both teams with 13 points, while first-year Jeff Holmes (Saunderstown, RI) paced the Jeffs with 7 points.

Amherst first-year Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) made a tough three-point play while falling to the floor to cut Babson’s lead to 37-35 with 15:42 to play in the second half. Babson held onto their lead and with 12:00 remaining, a long possession for Amherst with a trio of offensive rebounds resulted in a three from Steven Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) to leave Amherst down one.

With 8:00 to play, Wheeler knocked down another triple to close the Babson lead to 48-47. The score was the first bucket of a 10-0 Amherst run. During the stretch, senior co-captain Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) had a put-back on his own miss, Wheeler hit his third and final three, and sophomore Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) finished a nice drive with a reverse lay-up.

The scoring spurt put Amherst up 54-48 with 6:14 to play in regulation, but the Beavers responded over the next few minutes and closed the gap to 58-54 with 1:35 to play on a tough finish in traffic by Matt Florio.

With just :30 to play, Wheeler grabbed an offensive board on his own miss, and flipped in a lay-up en route to a three-point play. The score put Amherst up 61-55, a margin that would grow just one point down the stretch for a 62-55 win.

At game’s end, Wheeler led the Jeffs with 16 points, while co-captains Baskauskas and Mike Holsey (Potomac, MD) combined for 20 points and 15 rebounds. Holsey also had a game-high six blocks and was a force on the defensive end all night. Edwards finished the night with a game-high 24 points and eight boards to lead Babson.

Amherst improves to 11-1 with the win, while Babson drops to 8-6. The Lord Jeffs will open NESCAC play this weekend when Wesleyan and Conn. College visit LeFrak.