Lord Jeffs Punch Ticket to Ken Wright Title Game With 85-52 Win Over MCLA

Senior co-captain Brian Baskauskas scored a
team-high 20 points in the win.
AMHERST, MA – The 15th-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team opened play in the eighth annual Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational Tournament this evening against visiting MCLA. The Lord Jeffs pulled away for an 85-52 win, earning a spot in tomorrow’s 3 p.m. Championship game against either NYCCT or Skidmore College.

Amherst started the game with an emphatic breakaway dunk by senior co-captain Mike Holsey (Potomac, MD). Another finish from Holsey in the paint put Amherst up 8-5 four minutes into the game, but Jeff Sprague answered right back for the Trailblazers.

Junior Steven Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) hit a triple from the left wing with 14:16 to play in the opening half, forcing MCLA to call a timeout as Amherst opened up a 16-7 lead. Coming out of the timeout, Jon Greenberg responded with back-to-back scores for the Trailblazers. After the margin shrank to just three points, Wheeler came flying in from the left wing to put home an offensive rebound for Amherst.

Senior co-captain Brian Baskauskas (Palo Alto, CA) drilled a triple from the right corner with 12 minutes to play in the half, putting the Jeffs up 21-13. With nine minutes to play, Baskauskas dropped home a turnaround jumper in the lane to put Amherst up 27-19. Once again, Greenberg responded down low for MCLA, as the Trailblazers refused to let Amherst build a lead.

With five minutes to play Amherst opened up a 37-25 lead. The lead held around the ten-point mark, and with just 1:20 to play, Baskauskas finished a strong three-point play to increase the lead to 42-29. A quick pair of scores from the Trailblazers closed the gap to single digits, before first-year Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ) made a three from the right wing.

At the break the Lord Jeffs held a 45-33 lead, with Greenberg leading all players with 20 points on 10-of-12 shooting, while Baskauskas and Barrise paced Amherst with 11 and 10, respectively.

Wheeler went coast-to-coast for a tough lay-up with 14:51 remaining in the second half to stretch the Amherst margin to 56-40. The Amherst lead passed the 20-point mark when Baskauskas followed a Barrise triple with a breakaway dunk. The two-handed flush gave Baskauskas 20 points in the game with over 13 minutes to play.

By the mid-point of the second half, Amherst was cruising with a 63-42 lead. The lead grew to 71-44 on back-to-back threes from seniors Glenn Wong (Leverett, MA) and Marcus Bradley (Latham, NY), forcing MCLA to use another timeout with 7:48 to play.

With 6:24 to go, Wong hit another triple from the left corner to put Amherst up 30 points and give him 10 for the game. Bradley found Wong on the wing for his third triple of the half just over a minute later.

In the final minutes of the game, Amherst held onto a commanding lead with a handful of young players gaining some early season experience. The final whistle blew with the Lord Jeffs pulling out an 85-52 victory to improve to 2-0 on the year.

Baskauskas finished the night with 20 points to lead three Jeffs in double figures, as Barrise and Wong had 13 and 12, respectively. Greenberg has a quiet second half, finishing the night with 24 points and 13 rebounds.