Jeffs Drop Thriller to Wesleyan, 68-67

Taylor Barrise '12 was 7-for-8 from behind the arc.

Courtesy of Wesleyan University

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – The fourth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team got 23 points from senior captain Taylor Barrise, but Wesleyan University’s Shasha Brown ’13 knocked down two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Cardinals upset the Lord Jeffs, 68-67.

Amherst (13-2) assumed its first lead of the second half with 7.4 seconds to go when Aaron Toomey ’14 connected on two free throws, but Brown returned the favor 5.2 seconds later. The Jeffs then inbounded the ball deep in their own end and Toomey launched a desperate try from near midcourt, but he missed the mark as time expired.

Mike Callaghan ’13 led Wesleyan (13-4) with a career-high 24 points and team-high five rebounds, while Brown finished with 19 points and seven assists after shooting 11-for-12 from the line.

Barrise moved into fourth place on Amherst’s career three-point field goal list by going 7-for-8 from beyond the arc. His final trey with 54 seconds remaining tied the game at 63-63, but Callaghan responded with his only three-pointer of the game. A basket by Amherst’s Jeff Holmes ’12 with 30 seconds to go cut the difference to 66-65 and set up the wild finish.

Amherst built as much as a 10-point cushion during the first half (20-10), but the Cardinals went on a 20-9 run to take their first lead of the contest since holding a 2-0 margin. A Brown basket with 1:21 to go in the period spotted Wesleyan a 30-29 lead before sophomore Logan Buckner ended the scoring to give the Jeffs a 31-30 advantage at the break.  

Junior Willy Workman was the only player to reach double digits in the rebounding department, as he grabbed 11 for the Lord Jeffs. He also had eight points, while senior David Waller chipped in with 10 and Toomey finished with 11 for Amherst.  

Wesleyan was a solid 20-for-24 at the line, which helped to counter the 11-for-23 effort by the Lord Jeffs from three-point range. Wesleyan went 6-for-10 from long range, as junior Derick Beresford was 3-for-5 and senior Jason Mendell hit both his attempts.

The teams had played 11 days earlier in Amherst, with the Lord Jeffs prevailing by a score of 66-64.  Combined with their 66-43 victory over Williams College four days ago, the Cardinals knocked off both of their Little Three rivals in the same year for the first time since the 2000-01 campaign.

Both teams will resume conference play on Friday, Jan. 20, with Amherst traveling to take on Bowdoin and Wesleyan hosting Tufts.