Amherst Gets Back on Track with 71-66 Win at Bates

First-year Taylor Barrise had 11 points and seven rebounds while shooting 3-for-6 from beyond the arc.
Courtesy of Bates College Sports Information

LEWISTON, ME – Senior co-captain Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) scored 28 points and the No. 20 nationally ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team took advantage of 22 offensive rebounds in holding off Bates College, 71-66, in a NESCAC matchup Friday night at Alumni Gymnasium.

The Lord Jeffs (17-4, 5-1 NESCAC) snapped their first two-game losing skid since the 2005-06 season, while Bates dropped to 11-10 overall and 2-5 in conference play.

Chris Wilson led the Bobcats with a career-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc, to go with a game-high seven assists. Jimmy O'Keefe added 12 points.

Amherst out-rebounded Bates 43-35, with over half of its rebounds coming off the offensive glass, leading to an 18-6 edge in second-chance points. First-year Jeff Holmes (Saunderstown, RI) grabbed a team-high nine boards, six of them offensive. First-year Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) scored 11 points with seven rebounds off the bench for the Lord Jeffs.

Amherst took a 40-34 lead into halftime and extended it to 44-34 early in the second half. Bates cut the margin to as low as one point on four different occasions in the period and tied the game at 59-59 with 4:53 left in the game on a pair of free throws by Wilson, though the Bobcats never retook the lead. Their last advantage of the game came at 25-24 with 8:10 remaining in the first half, in a period with seven ties and six lead changes.

Amherst continually turned to Baskauskas when the Bobcats threatened, and the all-conference senior delivered consistently. He scored 14 points in each period, hitting 10 of 18 shots overall while grabbing seven rebounds. The senior captain moved into 17th place on Amherst’s all-time scoring list (1,104 points).

After Wilson’s free throws tied the game at 59, Baskauskas scored back-to-back layups, then followed a layup by senior Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY) with a pair of foul shots to complete an 8-0 run that gave Amherst a 67-59 lead with 3:04 left in the game. Bates first-year John Squires answered with a hoop underneath on a feed from Scott Place, but he missed the chance for the three-point play when he missed his foul shot.

Place cut the lead to five with a layup on a feed by Ben Thayer (team-high eight rebounds) with 34 seconds left, but after three foul shots by the Lord Jeffs, Bates was unable to close the gap again until Wilson hit a deep three with two seconds left in the game.

The Lord Jeffs return to action Saturday, when they take on Tufts University at 3 p.m. to wrap up a seven-game road trip.

Friday’s game will be shown on tape delay Saturday night at 8:30 on WPXT-TV, Maine’s CW network affiliate, via a YNETV broadcast.