Men's Basketball Falls to Williams at Home, 89-78

Conor Meehan scored a team-high 23 points.
AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s basketball team played host to NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College this evening in the LeFrak Gymnasium in Amherst, MA. In front of a packed house of nearly 1,400 fans, Williams pulled out an 89-78 win over the Lord Jeffs.

After a pair of Williams free throws from Blake Schultz to start the game, Amherst rookie David Waller (Tampa, FL) hit a three from the right wing. Amherst opened up an 8-3 lead after Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT) scored, and then found senior Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY) for a triple in transition.

The Ephs responded with a 6-1 run to tie the game 9-9 with just over 16 minutes to play in the half. Bradley corralled a huge defensive rebound in the lane, and then hit a three from the right wing to put Amherst up 15-11 with thirteen minutes to play in the frame. Kevin Snyder answered for Williams two possessions later with a three from the left corner.

With eight and a half minutes remaining in the first half, Amherst first-year Jeff Holmes (Pawtucket, RI) brought Lord Jeff Nation to its feet with an emphatic block. Two minutes later Meehan banked home a tough floater to put Amherst up 22-17. After a pair of Williams free throws, Amherst rookie Connor Johnson (San Diego, CA) hit a three from the left corner.

Williams went on a 5-0 run to tie the game at 27-27 with 4:54 to play in the half, before Amherst first-year Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) made a hotly contested lay-up while getting fouled. Barrise missed the free throw to leave the three-point play incomplete. Williams went on a 6-0 run to take a 33-29 lead, forcing Amherst to call a timeout with 2:40 to play.

Coming out of the timeout, Barrise cleaned up the mess on an offensive rebound, putting home his second bucket of the half. Amherst sophomore Kurt Bennett (Placerville, CA) got into the scoring mix late in the frame, hitting a hook shot in the lane. Johnson scored on a put-back, before Eph James Wang scored the final bucket of the half to send Williams into the break up 40-35.

At the half, Bradley and Baskauskas led Amherst in scoring with eight and seven points, while Snyder paced the Ephs with 14 points.

With 17:19 to play in the second half, Snyder blew open a five-point lead with three from the top of the key, while being fouled. He missed the free throw, but left the Ephs up 49-41, and increased his scoring total to 21 points.

Meehan broke a three-minute scoreless drought from both teams, before Wang scored for the Ephs on the next possession. Wang hit a pull-up jumper with just over 13 minutes to play, putting Williams up 53-43. On the next Amherst trip, Barrise scored on a tough put-back.

With 10:23 to play in the second half, Amherst was forced to call another timeout, as the Williams lead had swelled to 60-47. Three minutes later, Wang made an amazing reverse lay-up, before Baskauskas hit a three for Amherst. With 7:43 to play, Williams remained comfortably ahead, 66-50.

With 7:15 to play, Waller was whistled for an offensive foul, ending his night with five fouls and just five points. At the five minute mark, senior Glenn Wong (Leverett, MA) made a runner in traffic to close to 69-55.

Meehan made a nice left-handed hook shot on the baseline with 3:36 to play, closing the gap to 71-59. After a pair of Snyder free throws, Bradley drilled a three from the left wing. Meehan cut the deficit to 10 points at 74-64 with a lay-up after Troy Whittington made 1-of-2 at the line.

Amherst continued to pressure Williams down the stretch and try to rally for a comeback, but was unable to close the gap to single-digits as the Ephs made free throws. The final whistle blew with Williams watching the clock tick out on an 89-78 win.

Meehan was the high point man for Amherst with 23 points, while Bradley and Baskauskas combined for 26 more. Snyder finished with a game-high 30 points (matching his career-high), while Wang added 19 for the Ephs.

Amherst drops to 18-5 (6-2 NESCAC) with the loss, while Williams improves to 16-7 (6-2 NESCAC). Amherst will host Trinity tomorrow at 3 p.m. for Senior Day.