Barrise Sets Record, Toomey Nets Career-High 25 in 79-69 Win Over RIC

Taylor Barrise '12 became Amherst's all-time
leader in three-pointers made.

Contact: Justin Long

AMHERST, Mass. – The sixth-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team shot 26-of-28 from the free throw line and got a career-high 25 points from Aaron Toomey ’14 during a 79-69 win over Rhode Island College Tuesday evening in LeFrak Gymnasium.

Amherst (18-2) trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and did not take the lead for good until 9:54 remained in regulation, as the Anchormen (15-4) hung around until the Lord Jeffs scored the final five points of the game.

Senior captain Taylor Barrise went 3-for-5 from long distance to become Amherst’s all-time leader in three-pointers made (199), with the record-setting shot coming during a pivotal stretch midway through the second half. Jamal Wilson ’97 held the previous record of 198, a mark that stood for nearly 15 years.

Tahrike Carter led the Anchormen by finishing with team highs in points (20), rebounds (5), assists (3) and steals (2), as he was 2-for-3 from long range and 9-for-13 overall.

The teams traded punches in the early going and were tied at 13-13 after eight minutes. A layup by Carter ignited a 12-0 RIC run, as the Anchormen made seven consecutive shots and took a 29-15 lead with 7:17 to go after threes by Jacob Page and Michael Palumbo.

RIC’s quickness and athleticism contributed to a smothering defense that prevented Amherst from finding a rhythm on offense, but the Jeffs scored the final seven points of the opening half and trailed by only three (35-32) at the break. Barrise knocked down a big three-pointer during that final stretch, with a Toomey layup closing out the period.

The visitors held a 19-12 rebounding advantage and shot 53.3 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, but the second half would be a different story. The Jeffs took their first lead in nearly 20 minutes when Barrise knocked down three free throws, making it a 40-37 game with 17:08 on the clock.

Aaron Toomey '14 had a career-high 25 points.

The next 7:14 featured two ties and six lead changes, but Peter Kaasila ’13 gave Amherst the lead for good when a pair of free throws put the Jeffs ahead at 50-49 with 9:54 remaining. Barrise’s record-breaking three quickly made it a 53-49 game and Toomey followed with a triple of his own, forcing RIC into a timeout with 7:56 to go.

A missed three-pointer by Toomey led to the highlight of the night, as Allen Williamson ’13 soared above two Anchormen and threw down a two-handed dunk for a crowd-pleasing put-back. Kaasila followed with an easy lay-in on Amherst’s next possession, but RIC’s Mike Akinrola buried a three to keep his team within five (60-55) with 6:31 left in regulation.

The Anchormen would get as close as four points on a Mason Choice layup with 2:56 to go and again on a layup by Carter, but Amherst’s Jeff Holmes ’12 responded on each occasion with lay-ins of his own. RIC scored only three points in the final two minutes—all by Choice—as the Jeffs shot 7-for-8 at the line down the stretch to hang on for the 79-69 win.

The Lord Jeffs responded to being out-rebounded in the first half by holding a commanding 26-10 advantage on the glass (10-3 offensive) in the second period. RIC made 13 of its first 20 shots but cooled down and shot 38.5 percent in the second half.

Amherst’s Willy Workman ’13 led all players with 11 boards, adding eight points, six assists and two steals. Barrise finished with 12 points, while Kaasila and Williamson added 10 apiece. Toomey was 13-of-14 at the line and added five assists.

Choice had 14 points thanks to an 8-for-10 showing at the line, but the rest of the Anchormen were only 3-for-8 on free throws. Akinrola finished with 12 points and four rebounds but was held to 5-of-14 shooting (.357), well below his season average of 63.8 percent.

The Lord Jeffs tied a program record with their 24th consecutive home victory, while the Anchormen dropped to 5-4 on the road.

Amherst will resume conference play this weekend, beginning with a game against Bates College Friday at 8 p.m. in Lewiston, Maine. RIC will travel to take on UMass Boston this Saturday at 3 p.m.