Toomey Powers Jeffs Past Wesleyan, 75-61
Contact: Ben Badua
MIDDLETOWN, Conn. - Aaron Toomey ’14 matched a career-high with seven three-pointers as the 22nd-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team (10-2) opened NESCAC play with a 75-61 victory over Little Three rival Wesleyan (6-6).
Pouring in a game-high 23 points, all seven of Toomey’s field goals came from behind the arc, with the junior point guard hitting 7-of-10 attempts from long distance, while adding seven assists and five rebounds. Allen Williamson ’13 chipped in with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting, while Connor Green ’16 and Peter Kaasila ’13 rounded out the list of Jeffs in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Mike Callaghan ’13 paced Wesleyan with 19 points, seven boards, three assists and three steals, while Shasha Brown ’13 had 15 points. Derick Beresford ’13 was the only other Cardinal in double digits with 10 points in 25 minutes.
Down 6-2 in the early going, Amherst reeled off a quick 5-2 spurt, taking its first lead of the game on a Kaasila layup with 14:07 to go in the first. Tied at nine, Toomey knocked down his first triple of the evening, before coming right back down and burying another trey on the ensuing possession.
Green kept things rolling with a triple at 11:24, before Toomey continued the Jeffs’ three-point barrage with a fourth-consecutive trey moments later to make it 21-14. Wesleyan responded with a 15-8 run over a span of 5:46, tying the game on a Callaghan jumper, but Amherst scored 10 of the frame’s final 12 points, going up 39-31 on a Willy Workman ’13 trey.
Williamson opened up the second half scoring with a three-pointer before the Cardinals battled back within eight on a Rashid Epps ’16 layup. Up nine with just over 13 and a half minutes remaining in regulation, the Jeffs scored 12 unanswered points, blowing the game open over a span of 3:06.
Williamson got the decisive run started with a jumper at 13:34, before a Toomey three coupled with a Ben Pollack ’16 layup made it 56-40. David Kalema ’14 stretched the margin to 18 with a bucket on the visitors’ next possession before Toomey connected on yet another from downtown to give Amherst its largest lead.
Trying to keep pace, Wesleyan tallied the next 11 points, cutting the deficit to 61-51 on a Callaghan trey at 8:07, but the Jeffs came right back with a 12-2 run, rebuilding a 20-point cushion on a Kalema three with less than five minutes to play.
Shooting 59.1 percent from behind the arc, Amherst’s 13 triples on the night were a season-high, with the Jeffs netting at least 10 triples for the fifth time this year. Connecting on 55.8 percent (29-of-52) of its field goal attempts, the Purple & White continued its hot shooting, with the team hitting 58.2 percent (103-of-177) of its shots over the last three games.
Winners of four-straight, Amherst will look to keep things rolling on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Connecticut College.