Jeffs Lead Start to Finish in 77-61 Win at Wesleyan

Amherst is cruising along at 14-0 this season.
(Photo by Matt Milless,

Courtesy of Wesleyan University Sports Information

MIDDLETOWN, CT – The Amherst College men’s basketball team led Wesleyan University from start to finish during a 77-61 win Saturday afternoon at Silloway Gymnasium. The Lord Jeffs improve to 14-0 overall and 2-0 in NESCAC play, while the Cardinals drop to 8-7 (1-1).

This was the second meeting of the season between the Little Three rivals, with Amherst earning an 87-74 win at home on Jan. 5. The Jeffs completed the series sweep by using an 11-0 run during the second half of today’s game, clinching at least a share of the 2011 Little Three crown in the process.

For the third consecutive game, five Amherst players finished with at least 10 points. Sophomore center Pete Kaasila (Plaistow, NH) led the way with a game-high 17 points, while Willy Workman ’13 (Northampton, MA) scored all 14 of his in the second half.

It looked as though the 10th-ranked Lord Jeffs might run away with the contest as they built an early 10-point lead (20-10) behind the 4-for-4 shooting of sophomore Allen Williamson (Saugus, MA). Amherst extended its lead to as much as 13 on several occasions, but the Cardinals, who got 11 first-half points from sophomore Derick Beresford, cut the gap to 35-32 with 25 seconds to go in the period.  Beresford had seven points and sophomore Mike Callaghan had four during the 13-5 streak that made it a 37-32 game at intermission.

The lead in the second half reached 10 (48-38) with 13:30 remaining as Kaasila hit three baskets for the Lord Jeffs. Wesleyan made another run and trimmed the margin to five (52-47) with 9:50 to go, but that’s when Amherst burst for 11 straight thanks to five points from Workman and a three-pointer apiece from first-year Aaron Toomey (Greensboro, NC) and junior Taylor Barrise (Allendale, NJ). Once ahead by 16 (63-47), Amherst let Wesleyan get no closer than 12 in the final 6:53.

Joining Kaasila and Workman in double figures were Barrise (13), Williamson (10) and senior co-captain Conor Meehan (Meriden, CT), who finished with 11 points, six boards and four assists. Kaasila pulled down eight rebounds, Toomey had five assists, and the Jeffs shot 12-of-14 from the line. Amherst’s starters accounted for 65 of the team’s 77 points.

Wesleyan got 16 points from Beresford, while Callaghan had 15 and sophomore Shasha Brown added 12. Beresford also led the Cardinals on the boards with seven.

Amherst plays again Thurs., Jan. 20, when its hosts Curry in a non-conference contest.