Kaasila, Toomey Lead Jeffs Past Tufts

Contact: Ben Badua


AMHERST, Mass. - Peter Kaasila ’13 poured in a career-high 26 points to lead the 10th-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team to a 100-89 win over Tufts University on Senior Day in LeFrak Gymnasium.

Hitting 11 of his 13 field-goal attempts, the senior center scored seven of the Jeffs’ points in a decisive 9-0 run over the span of 2:06 late in the second half. Aaron Toomey ’14 turned in another stellar showing, finishing with 27 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals, while connecting on six of his 11 shots.

Allen Williamson ’13 had 12 points and seven boards, while Willy Workman ’13 added 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. Connor Green ’16 rounded out the list of Jeffs in double figures with 11 points, knocking down 3-of-5 tries from behind the arc.

Scott Anderson ’13 led all scorers with 35 points on 12-for-17 shooting, while Stephen Haladyna ’16 chipped in with 17 points, missing just two of his nine field-goal attempts. Tom Palleschi ’16 and Kwame Firempong ’14 had 15 and 13 points, respectively, combining for 10 rebounds and four assists.

Hitting their first three shots from the floor, Amherst jumped out to a 6-0 lead on a Kaasila turnaround in the paint. Battling back, Tufts pieced together a 17-11 run, tying the game on a Firempong triple at 12:27.

Trailing 24-22 after an Anderson layup midway through the half, Amherst reeled off nine unanswered, building a 33-24 margin on a Williamson dunk. Down 51-42 after a David Kalema ’14 layup inside of the two-minute mark, Anderson once again connected down low, cutting the Jumbos’ deficit to 51-44 at the intermission.

Opening up the second half scoring with an Anderson three-pointer, Tufts strung together a 16-9 run over the first 5:10 of the frame, tying the game at 60-60. Amherst responded by netting 12 of the game’s next 15 points, going back up nine on a Workman trey with 11:34 on the clock.

Once again coming back, the Jumbos ripped off a 15-6 run, pulling even at 78-78 on Firempong’s layup at 7:50. Clinging to a one point lead with just over six minutes to play, Kaasila took over, scoring the game’s next seven points to put the Jeffs up eight.

Toomey gave the Purple & White their first double digit lead with a jumper at 3:46, before Anderson ended a nearly three minute Tufts scoring drought with a layup on the visitors’ ensuing possession. Converting a three-point play the old fashioned way the next time down the floor, Anderson brought the Jumbos back within five at 90-85, but that was as close as Tufts would get, with Amherst closing out the game on a 10-4 run, hitting a perfect 8-for-8 at the free throw line down the stretch.

Shooting a blistering 61.4 percent from the floor (35-for-57), the Jeffs knocked down 50.0 percent (7-for-14) from long distance, while holding the visitors to a 29.2 percent (7-for-24) clip from behind the arc. With Kaasila establishing himself down low, Amherst held a 48-42 edge in points in the paint, while committing just seven turnovers.

The Lord Jeffs return to action on Friday, Feb. 8 at archrival Williams.