Jeffs Overcome Slow Start, Earn 61-50 Win at Babson

David Kalema '14 sparked a pivotal run that
helped Amherst pull away in the second half.

Contact: Justin Long

BABSON PARK, Mass. – The Amherst College men’s basketball team scored only 24 points in the first half but used a strong performance from David Kalema ’14 to pull away in the second, as the Lord Jeffs remained unbeaten with a 61-50 win at Babson College Thursday evening.

Kalema scored all nine of his points in the second half and ignited a pivotal 12-2 run that helped the Lord Jeffs (8-0) separate themselves from a resilient Babson team. David Waller ’12 led the visitors with 12 points and added five rebounds, while Willy Workman ’13 finished with 11 points, eight boards, three assists and two blocks for Amherst.

Matt Florio had 15 points on 6-of-11 shooting as the only Beaver in double figures, as the rest of the starting five shot 25 percent (9-for-36) overall. Babson drops to 7-3 with its third consecutive loss.

The Jeffs and Beavers were a combined 1-for-14 in the early going, with the hosts missing their first nine shots and needing nearly eight minutes to get on the board. Amherst entered the game leading the NESCAC in scoring offense (91.6 ppg) but made only three of its first 18 shots, as the teams were tied at 10-10 with 8:53 to play in the opening half.

Marcus McDermott gave Babson its first lead (13-12) with a three-pointer and the Beavers soon bumped their advantage to three, but Amherst’s Jeff Holmes ’12 pushed back with a three-point play after an offensive rebound. Connor Boyen handed the lead right back to Babson with a three of his own, but an Amherst free throw and another put-back by Holmes made it an 18-18 game with 3:09 to go.

That would be the fifth and final tie of the opening half, as the Jeffs scored six of the game’s next eight points to carry a 24-20 lead into the break. Amherst shot 29 percent (9-for-31) and was 0-for-9 from three, but Holmes kept the Jeffs alive with seven points and five offensive rebounds.

Amherst accounted for the first four points of the second half before Alex Rudolph knocked down a baseline jumper that marked Babson’s first field goal in more than seven minutes. The Lord Jeffs’ first three-pointer of the night came from Waller, who gave his team a 33-22 lead with 16:03 remaining.

Willy Workman ’13 put a stop to a 10-2 Babson run with a triple from the right wing and followed with a layup after a backdoor cut. Peter Kaasila ’13 soon brought Amherst’s lead back to double digits when a lay-in with 11:02 remaining made it a 44-34 game.

Kaasila and Kalema accounted for all of Amherst’s 11 points during a six-minute stretch, with Kalema knocking down all three of his field goal attempts. Their strong play ignited a 9-0 run that provided some breathing room for the Jeffs, who took a 56-39 lead with 4:12 on the clock. That would be Amherst’s largest lead of the night, as the Beavers scored 11 of the game’s final 16 points.

Holmes finished with nine points and nine rebounds (seven offensive), while Kaasila contributed eight points and five boards. The Jeffs shot 55 percent in the second half and were 18-for-23 at the line on the night, with Kalema and Kaasila going a combined 5-for-5 from the floor in the final 20 minutes.  

The Jeffs have now won 24 consecutive games against teams outside of the NESCAC, a streak they will look to add to when they travel to take on Brandeis University (4-5) this Saturday at 7 p.m. Brandeis defeated Babson this past Sunday, 61-53.