Jeffs Shut Down Colby in Second Half, Pull Away for 82-49 Win

Jeff Holmes '12 had 10 points and a team-high six rebounds in only 13 minutes for Amherst.

AMHERST, MA – The sixth-ranked Amherst College basketball team used a strong defensive effort to hold visiting Colby College to only 18 points in the second half of an 82-49 victory Friday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium. The Lord Jeffs improve to 17-0 overall and 4-0 in the NESCAC, while the Mules drop to 9-9 (1-3 NESCAC).

The teams were knotted at 28-28 with 5:28 remaining in the first half, but Amherst would out-score the visitors by a 54-21 margin the rest of the way. Aaron Toomey ’14 (Greensboro, NC) made all five shots he took from the floor—including a 3-for-3 performance from long range—to lead the Lord Jeffs with 18 points.

Friday marked Amherst’s first win over Colby since the 2008 NESCAC Championship quarterfinals, as the Mules had won three straight in the series.

Each team hit four of its first five shots, with Amherst connecting on its first three attempts from behind the arc. The Jeffs broke a 28-28 tie with an 11-0 run that was capped by a deep straightaway three by Toomey, making it a 39-28 score with two minutes to play. Christian Van Loenen responded with a deep three of his own for Colby, bringing the halftime score to 39-31 in favor of the hosts. Van Loenen would match Toomey’s 18 points to lead the Mules on the night.

Colby shot 65 percent from the floor in the first half but only 19 percent in the second, while the Lord Jeffs shot over 50 percent in each frame. The Mules would cut their deficit to five in the opening three minutes of the second period, but Amherst pushed back with a 9-0 run and led by double digits the rest of the way, scoring the final 19 points of the game.

The only Amherst player other than Toomey to score in double digits was Jeff Holmes ’12 (Saunderstown, RI), who finished with 10 points and six rebounds in 13 minutes. Joining Van Loenen in double digits for the Mules were Kyle Donovan (12) and Mike Russell (11), with Russell adding a team-high six boards.

Amherst is in the midst of the fourth longest winning streak in program history, and is off to the best start since the 2006-07 squad won its first 23 games en route to a national title.

Both teams will return to action tomorrow at 2 p.m., with Amherst hosting Bowdoin College and Colby traveling to take on Trinity College.