Balanced Offense Leads Jeffs Past Bowdoin
Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. – Six different Jeffs scored in double figures as the 16th-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team won its eighth straight with an 80-70 triumph over Bowdoin.
Improving to 16-2 against the Polar Bears since 1999-2000, the Jeffs upped their season mark to 14-2 with a 4-0 league ledger. Bowdoin fell to 9-5 (2-2 NESCAC) with the loss.
Peter Kaasila’13 paced the Jeffs with 19 points and seven rebounds on 9-for-15 shooting, while Aaron Toomey ’14 and Conner Green ’16 each finished with 12. Allen Williamson ’13, Tom Killian ’14 and Willy Workman ’13 rounded out the list of Jeffs in double digits with 10 apiece.
Matt Mathias ’14 led all scorers with 22 points, hitting nine of his 11 attempts, including 4-of-5 from behind the arc. Keegan Pieri ’15 added 15 points and seven boards, while Lucas Hausman ’16 had 12 points.
Jumping out to a fast start, Amherst built an 8-0 lead with six-straight Williamson points and a Kaasila layup. Finally getting on the board 4:58 after the opening tip, Pieri drained a jumper, but the Jeffs responded with five unanswered, going up 11 on a Toomey triple. Battling back, Bowdoin reeled off a 13-2 run over a span of 2:15, tying the game on Pieri’s four-point play with 8:38 to go in the half.
Amherst came back with a 12-4 run of its own, rebuilding a seven-point cushion on a David Kalema ’14 trey. Chipping away, the Polar Bears trimmed the deficit to 31-29 on a Hausman three-pointer at 1:53 of the first, but the Jeffs scored seven of the frame’s final nine points to take a 38-31 lead into the intermission.
Starting the second strong, Killian buried a triple on Amherst’s first possession before Williamson drove the lane for two, upping the margin to 43-31. Piecing together a 14-6 run, Bowdoin pulled within four on a Mathias three-pointer at 14:44, before Kaasila stemmed the tide with back-to-back baskets in the paint.
Holding onto a three-point lead with 11:11 to play, Toomey and Green connected on consecutive treys, stretching the Jeff lead to 61-52. With the Polar Bears pulling within seven on a Bryan Hurley ’15 jumper at 5:15, Amherst scored nine of the game’s seven of the game’s next eight points, going up 76-63 on a pair of Workman free throws with just 3:10 remaining.
Shooting 54.2 percent (13-of-24) in the second half, Amherst finished the game hitting 29 of its 58 field-goal attempts (50.0 percent). Holding a 35-31 rebounding edge, the Jeffs also helped force 10 Bowdoin turnovers, recording five blocks and four steals on the night.
Amherst returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 19 against Colby.