Jeffs Pull Away for 85-68 Win Over Hamilton

Taylor Barrise '12 had 15 points in the win.

Contact: Justin Long

AMHERST, Mass. – The fifth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team increased its home winning streak to 23 games with an 85-68 victory over Hamilton College Friday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium.

The Lord Jeffs (13-1, 3-0 NESCAC) led by only two points with less than two minutes to play in the opening half, but they pulled away and never left the game in doubt in the second half. The Continentals dropped to 11-5 overall and 1-2 in the NESCAC.

Amherst point guard Aaron Toomey ’14 led all players with 17 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Seniors Taylor Barrise and Jeff Holmes each added 15 points for the Jeffs, who won their fifth consecutive game of the season.  

The neck-and-neck first half featured nine ties and four lead changes, as neither team led by more than five points until 1:18 remained in the period. The Continentals hit 10 of their first 15 shots and took a 21-18 lead on a layup by Eric Benvenuti ’13, but they would shoot 5-for-20 for the remainder of the half.

Hamilton’s cold spell allowed the Jeffs to take the lead for good when Holmes hit a layup to make it a 25-23 game with 9:41 on the clock. The Continentals tied the game for the last time at 31-31 before Logan Buckner ’14 gave Amherst a burst with a three-point play.

The final points of the first half came on a fast-break dunk by Tom Killian ’14, who brought the score to 44-36 with only eight seconds remaining. Toomey and Hamilton’s Greg Newton ’14 led their respective teams with 10 points in the opening period, during which the Jeffs shot 60.7 percent as a team.

Toomey opened the second half with a three-pointer, but Matt Dean ’14 responded with a three of his own and Newton soon followed with a free throw to cut Hamilton’s deficit to seven (47-40). That would be as close as the visitors would get, as the Jeffs led by double digits for the final 17:35.

Killian capped off a 10-0 Amherst run that made it a 78-56 game with 5:59 to play, and Hamilton was unable to cut its deficit to fewer than 15.

The Jeffs shot 86.4 percent from the line (19-for-22) and held a 44-32 rebounding advantage on the night. Willy Workman ’13 had another outstanding all-around effort, finishing with 10 points, nine boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals.

Dean led Hamilton with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting and had five rebounds, while Newton finished with 11 points and five assists. Ken Click ’13 added 10 points and recorded three of the Continentals’ seven blocks. Hamilton held Amherst to a 3-for-12 performance from beyond the arc in the second half.

Hamilton will travel to take on Trinity College this Sunday, while Amherst will face Wesleyan in a non-conference game on Tuesday, Jan. 17 in Middletown, Conn.