Jeffs Rout WNEC 70-44 for Seniors' 100th Win

Brian Baskauskas scored a game-high 18 points
in the win at WNEC.
SPRINGFIELD, MA – The 16th-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team took to the road this evening for a non-conference tilt at local rival Western New England College. The Lord Jeffs picked up their 15th win of the season with a 70-44 victory in Springfield, as the Class of 2009 won it's 100th career game.

Amherst jumped out to an 8-2 lead on a three from junior Steven Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) after he picked up a steal on the defensive end. After another steal from senior co-captain Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA), Wheeler scored on a put-back. Wheeler hit another triple two possessions later to bring his total to eight points within the first five minutes.

With 12:40 to play in the half, WNEC’s Brad Thomka scored off a nice post move to cut Amherst’s lead to 17-6. After a pair of free throws from senior co-captain Mike Holsey (Potomac, MD), rookie David Waller (Tampa, FL) stroked a three from the right wing to put Amherst up 22-6, and force WNEC to call a timeout with 11:42 to play in the half.

The Golden Bears scored on back-to-back possessions to cut the margin down to a dozen points, before sophomore Kurt Bennett (Placerville, CA) drew a charge to slow the WNEC offense. Bennett scored off an offensive rebound to put Amherst ahead 24-12 with 6:39 to play in the frame, before dropping home a nice baseline post score on the next trip.

With 5:27 to play, Waller dove on a loose ball in the lane and found Baskauskas streaking to the hoop for a score. Amherst doubled up the Golden Bears 32-16 with 2:49 to play in the frame on a score by sophomore Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT).

The Golden Bears added one final basket, while the Lord Jeffs were held scoreless over the final 2:49 of the first half to take a 32-18 lead into the locker room. At the break, Amherst held a sizeable lead, despite only having six players score.

The Lord Jeffs started the second half with on a 14-4 run capped by a two-handed breakaway dunk from Holsey. The uncontested slam forced WNEC into another timeout, their second of the young half.

Brendan Murphy hit a three for WNEC from the left wing with just over 10 minutes remaining to leave the Lord Jeffs up 54-30. Amherst answered with a 9-4 run over the next minute and a half, with senior Glenn Wong (Leverett, MA) nailing a three off a broken play.

Senior Ben Kaplan (Glencoe, IL) got into the scoring mix with a deep three on his first shot of the night, before junior DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI) made a lay-up on the fast break to put Amherst ahead 67-37. Down the stretch, Amherst grabbed quality minutes from Carcieri, Kaplan, Bennett and first-years Connor Johnson (San Diego, CA) and David Zaitz (Scarsdale, NY) to cruise to a 70-44 win.

Baskauskas scored a game-high 18 points to lead Amherst, while Holsey and Wheeler each hit double-digits with 10 points apiece. Holsey pulled down a game-high eight rebounds, with two steals and two blocks. Kyle Fredette finished with eight points and six rebounds to lead the Golden Bears.

With the victory, the Lord Jeffs improve to 15-2, while WNEC dropped to 4-12 on the season. Amherst will remain on the road this weekend with NESCAC games at Bowdoin and Colby.