Amherst Falls at RIC, 72-61, for Second Straight Loss

Senior Marcus Bradley led Amherst with 13 points and four rebounds in the 72-61 loss.
Courtesy of Rhode Island College Sports Information

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Amherst College men’s basketball team let an 18-point second-half lead slip away at Rhode Island College, as the host Anchormen stormed back to earn a 72-61 win at The Murray Center Tuesday evening. The Lord Jeffs fall to 16-4 on the season, while RIC improves to 15-4.

Senior guard Bobby Bailey registered a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Anchormen, who out-scored the 20th-ranked Jeffs 44-15 over the final 16:10 of regulation to earn their sixth straight win. This is the first time since the 2005-06 NCAA Tournament Amherst has lost back-to-back games, as the Jeffs suffered an 81-76 setback at Colby this past weekend.

Senior forward Kaseem Johnson had 10 points, four boards and two steals for RIC, while sophomore guard Antone Gray chipped in with 12 points, three boards, two assists and a pair of steals.

Amherst took an early 11-7 lead on three-pointers by senior guard Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY) and first-year forward David Waller (Tampa, FL). The Anchormen kept it close with a Bailey trey and a Mason Choice layup, pulling the hosts within three, 17-14, at 12:36.

The two teams traded buckets, then Bradley nailed a jump shot, first-year forward Jeff Holmes (Pawtucket, RI) made a free throw and first-year guard Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) buried a three to extend the Lord Jeffs’ lead to nine, 25-16, at 8:59.

Senior guard Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) drained a baseline jumper with the shot clock expiring, then followed classmate guard Glenn Wong’s (Leverett, MA) three-ball with a trifecta of his own to open up a 13-point lead at the 5:08 mark.

The hosts bounced back with a 9-2 run, as five different Anchormen scored to pull RIC within six, 34-28, at the half. Baskauskas shot 5-for-8 from the field to lead all scorers with 10 points as the visitors shot 54 percent from the field (14-for-26) and 56 percent (5-for-9) from downtown over the first 20 minutes.

RIC capitalized on 12 first-half Lord Jeff turnovers to record nine steals. Bailey led the way with nine points, five boards and two steals, while senior center Wil Lyons had three emphatic blocks. The Anchormen shot 43 percent (12-for-28) from the field, but struggled to find their groove from beyond the three-point line (25 percent; 2-for-8).

Senior co-captain Mike Holsey was 6-for-7 from the floor and finished with a career-high 12 points.
Amherst erupted for 12 straight points out of the gate in the second half to build a 46-28 lead at 16:10. Holsey logged three buckets during the surge as Baskauskas and Bradley each nailed treys.

The hosts mounted a comeback with 14 straight points, capped by a Choice layup and free throw to pull the Anchormen within five, 46-41, at 11:50. The rookie forward and senior guard Tirrell Hill each scored five points during the run, while Gray had four.

Amherst sophomore guard Connor Meehan (Meriden, CT) finally stemmed the RIC advance with a three-pointer at 11:32, but Hill came back with a strong finish at the rack. Senior guard Cameron Stewart hit two free throws, then tied the game with a three-pointer at 9:18.

Bailey grabbed a board and was fed for a three-pointer, which brought The Murray Center crowd to its feet, capping a 24-3 comeback that gave the Anchormen their first lead of the game, 52-49, at 8:43. Gray and Johnson each hit a pair of free throws, and Bailey followed with one of his own to give RIC a 57-49 lead at 5:14.

Amherst junior guard DJ Carcieri (Narragansett, RI) connected on two jumpers, while Bradley hit one of his own, to close the gap to six points, 61-55, at 2:33. That would be as close as the visitors would get as Johnson muscled in a layup to extend the RIC lead to eight, 63-55, at 1:58, and Bailey sank a pair from the charity stripe to give the hosts a 10-point advantage, 65-55, at 1:18.

Lyons, Bailey and Stewart combined for seven free throws over the final minute to seal the win. RIC made 21 of 23 from the free throw line in the second half and 23 of 31 (74 percent) for the game. The Anchormen shot 45 percent from the field (22-for-49) and turned the ball over just 10 times.

Baskauskas and Bradley each finished with 13 points, while Holsey racked up a career-high 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Amherst finished the contest with a 44 percent (25-for-57) mark from the field and shot 35 percent (8-for-23) from downtown. After the hot start, the Lord Jeffs were only 3-for-14 from three-point land in the second half.

Cox Sports broadcasted the game and will air it Thursday, Feb. 5, at 9 p.m. The Lord Jeffs will return to action Friday, Feb. 6, when they continue their seven-game road trip with a 7 p.m. game at Bates College.