Salem Bound! Jeffs Torch Randolph-Macon, 93-76
Contact: Matthew Hart
AMHERST, Mass. – Aaron Toomey ’14 poured in 25 points for the second consecutive game and four other Lord Jeffs reached double-figures as the Amherst College men’s basketball team used a red-hot first half to race past Randolph-Macon College, 93-76, in the Third Round of the 2013 NCAA Division III Championship Saturday at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Toomey added eight assists and six rebounds for Amherst (27-2), which advances to the national quarterfinals, to be played on March 22 in Salem, Va. The Jeffs will meet Cabrini College (25-5) with game time to be determined after the Cavaliers eliminated the College of Wooster, 70-63, on Saturday night.
Allen Williamson ’13 chipped in 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting as well as five assists for the hosts, but it was Connor Green ’16 who keyed Amherst’s big first half alongside Toomey, scoring 12 points on four three-pointers in the opening frame before finishing with 14 points and six rebounds.
With Toomey and Green combining for 30 points and 7-of-10 long-range shooting in the first half, Amherst posted a 19-2 run early and gunned its way to a 58-34 lead after 20 minutes, shooting a blistering 22-of-34 (64.7 percent) from the floor and 10-of-15 (66.7 percent) from downtown before cooling off after its cushion hit 30 early in the second frame.
Rounding out the Jeffs in double figures were Willy Workman ’13 -- who enjoyed another well-rounded performance with 10 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals -- and Peter Kaasila ’13, who added 10 points and six boards,.
Andre Simon ’14 led Randolph-Macon (21-10) with 20 points while Lamar Giggets ’13 added 18. Connor Sullivan ’15 chipped in 16 points and six boards while Marcus Badger ’15 tallied 10 points and seven assists for the Yellow Jackets.
R-MC kept it close in the opening moments, with a Giggets jumper making it 7-6 for Amherst three minutes into the contest. Leading 13-9 moments later, however, the Jeffs exploded on their decisive 19-2 run over the next five minutes, hitting 8-of-10 field goal attempts as a David Kalema ’14 fast-break finish put the hosts up 32-11 just before the midway point of the period.
The Yellow Jackets responded with a quick 6-0 spurt, with Simon’s layup making it 32-17, but Amherst caught fire once again, with Green’s corner three igniting a 10-0 run as the Jeffs swelled their advantage to 42-17 on Kalema’s trifecta with 7:09 to play. The lead would stay nearly that large for the remainder of the half, with Toomey capping the Amherst scoring for the frame with a steal and acrobatic finish before Simon’s dunk and free throw on the other end made it 58-34 at the break.
The Jeffs stayed hot to start the second, upping their lead to 30 as Williamson’s old-fashioned three-point play made it 68-38 just over two minutes in. With the cushion reaching its largest figure, Amherst finally began to cool off, and a 12-2 Yellow Jacket run brought it to 70-50 on a Joe Hassell ’15 layup with 13:38 remaining. R-MC would never seriously threaten, however, as Kaasila’s layup and a Williamson trey stemmed the tide and the Jeffs kept their lead at 20-plus until the final four minutes.
Toomey's big night vaulted the junior over the 1,400 career point plateau and into eighth place on the all-time Amherst scoring list at 1,411.
Amherst will be making its eighth all-time appearance in the national quarterfinals, seeking a win Friday to advance to Saturday’s semifinals in Salem, where the Jeffs would play for a trip to the national championship game, to be held on April 7 in Atlanta as part of the Division I Final Four festivities.