Jeffs Suffer 74-70 Loss at Williams to Earn No. 3 Seed
Willy Workman '13 had 22 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals at Williams.
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The Amherst College men’s basketball team was involved in yet another classic battle with archrival Williams College, but the Lord Jeffs came out on the losing end of a 74-70 result Saturday afternoon at Chandler Gym.
The Lord Jeffs drop to 21-2 (7-2 NESCAC) and have earned the No. 3 seed in the upcoming NESCAC Championship. Amherst will host sixth-seeded Bates College on Saturday, Feb. 19, at 2 p.m. in the tournament’s quarterfinal round. The Ephs (23-1, 9-0) will be the No. 1 seed and will host No. 8 Bowdoin in the opening round.
Amherst had won five of its past six games played in Williamstown, but the Ephs took a 68-67 lead with 4:31 to play and held on to avenge a 92-89 overtime loss they suffered to the Jeffs back on Jan. 8.
The Jeffs knocked down three shots from behind the arc to spark an 11-0 run that gave them a 24-17 lead nine minutes into the game, but James Wang scored seven consecutive points to lead a 9-0 charge that gave the hosts a 30-28 advantage with 5:23 remaining in the first half. The Ephs closed out the period on an 8-2 run that featured another pair of triples for Wang, who had 24 points at the break to send his team into the locker room with a 44-36 cushion.
Wang shot 4-of-7 from long range and 9-of-14 overall in the opening 20 minutes. Amherst pulled down nine offensive boards and won the overall rebounding battle, 24-18, but would attempt only three free throws before the break.
The Jeffs quickly left their eight-point halftime deficit in the dust, opening the second period on a 7-0 run before Pete Kaasila ’13 (Plaistow, NH) hit a jumper to put the visitors back ahead, 48-46. Williams used the long ball to quickly regain control for a six-point lead, but back-to-back threes from Aaron Toomey ’14 (Greensboro, NC) and Taylor Barrise ’12 (Allendale, NJ) made it a 54-54 game with 12:17 remaining.
The rest of the game would feature four ties and four lead changes, but the dagger came when Nate Robertson drilled a three to give the hosts a 71-67 lead with 3:44 to go. Willy Workman ’13 (Northampton, MA) would cut the deficit to one with a three-pointer of his own, but a James Klemm triple with 1:29 on the clock marked the final points of the game.
Workman finished with a career-high 22 points, eight boards, three blocks and two steals to lead Amherst, with Jeff Holmes ’12 (Saunderstown, RI) adding 13 points and eight rebounds. The Lord Jeffs out-rebounded the Ephs by a 46-35 margin, while the teams combined to commit only 14 turnovers and 20 fouls in the game.
Wang led all scorers with 33 points and three assists, with Troy Whittington adding 14 points and 11 boards after having missed the first Amherst-Williams matchup of the season.
Amherst’s quarterfinal game will be a rematch of the Feb. 5 meeting that saw the Jeffs hang on for a 74-68 win over the Bobcats.
Quarterfinal Round – Sat., Feb. 19
No. 8 Bowdoin @ No. 1 Williams
No. 7 Conn. College @ No. 2 Middlebury
No. 6 Bates @ No. 3 Amherst
No. 5 Tufts @ No. 4 Trinity
Semifinal/Final Rounds – Sat.-Sun., Feb. 26-27
(Played at Highest Remaining Seed)