Jeffs Advance With 101-82 Win Over Cabrini
Contact: Ben Badua
SALEM, Va. - Willy Workman ’13 scored 13 of his 21 points in the second half to help lead the second-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team to a 101-82 NCAA national quarterfinal victory over Cabrini College at the Salem Civic Center.
With the game tied at 24-24 in the first half, Amherst (28-2) used a 20-6 run over the final seven minutes of the frame to take a 14-point edge into the intermission. With the Cavaliers (25-6) back within nine with under eight to go, the Jeffs reeled off a 20-9 spurt over a span of 5:19 to win going away. Snapping Cabrini’s 14-game win streak, the Purple & White picked up their 22nd-consecutive victory, advancing to its first Final Four (fifth overall) since finishing as the national runner-up in 2008.
Allen Williamson ’13 posted his second double-double of the season with 16 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, while junior guards Aaron Toomey and David Kalema each scored 17, combining to shoot 11-for-22 from the field. Ben Pollack ’16 was the only other Jeff in double figures, hitting all six of his shot attempts to finish with a personal-best 14 points in 15 minutes off the bench.
Aaron Walton-Moss ’15 paced Cabrini with 21 points and nine rebounds, while Fran Rafferty ’14 surpassed the 1,000-point plateau, netting 18 on 6-for-11 shooting. A.J. Williams ’13 and Tim McDaniels ’14 had 12 and 11 points, respectively, while Jeremy Knowles ’13 chipped in with 10.
Getting the Jeffs off to a fast start, Williamson netted the game’s first four points, knocking down a pair of jumpers. Walton-Moss tied it with four straight before Kaasila put Purple & White back on top with a bucket at 17:14.
A McDaniels layup coupled with a Rafferty triple from the right wing gave the Cavaliers their first lead, but a long Williamson two from the left side followed by a Toomey three-pointer kick-started a 7-0 Amherst spurt. After Peter Kaasila ’13 capped off the stretch with a layup inside of the 15-minute mark, Jon Miller ’14 converted a three-point play the old fashioned way to trim the Cabrini deficit to one.
Answering with a 9-1 run, the Jeffs built a 24-15 margin on a Kalema layup midway through the frame. Walton-Moss responded by knocking down a pair of free throws before a Rafferty step-back jumper ended a 4:56 field goal drought. Walton-Moss kept the Cavaliers rolling with five consecutive points to knot it at 24-24, before Williamson tipped in a Tom Killian ’14 misfire to put Amherst back on top.
Workman then scored four of the Jeffs’ next six before Walton-Moss netted two at 4:20 to make it 32-26. Six more unanswered Amherst points stretched the cushion to 12 with just over two and a half to go before Williams momentarily stemmed the tide with a layup. Back up 12 in the waning moments of the first, Workman tipped in a Connor Green ’16 miss at the buzzer to cap off a 20-6 Jeff run to close out the half.
Williams opened the second half scoring with a corner three, but Amherst responded with an 11-2 run to build a commanding 55-35 lead. Williamson got the stretch started with a straight-away jumper before Workman came right down the lane for a three-point play. Knocking down a pull-up jumper that pushed the margin to 16, Workman slid into the paint for another two before Toomey capped off run with a bucket at 16:42.
Williams answered with a layup on the Cavaliers’ next possession before Rafferty drew a foul behind the arc, knocking down three free throws that cut it to 55-40. Getting a stop on the other end, Cabrini went right back to Rafferty, who delivered with a three-point play that suddenly sliced the lead to 12.
Workman got the Jeffs back on track with a layup, before Toomey knifed into the paint and laid it in for a pair. With Toomey later kicking it out to Kalema for a wide-open three, Amherst once again made it a 17-point difference, but Cabrini crawled back, outscoring the Jeffs 19-11 over the next 5:04 to finally get it under double digits.
Holding onto a 79-68 lead with just over five minutes to play, Pollack accounted for four straight points before Workman turned the corner toward the baseline following a timeout, throwing it down with two hands to make it a 15-point game. Up 85-71, Amherst went 6-for-6 from the charity stripe before a Toomey basket at 2:19 staked the Jeffs to a 20-point cushion.
Shooting just 4-for-21 from behind the arc (19.0 percent) Amherst dominated the battle down low, outrebounding Cabrini 43-33, while holding a 26-11 edge in second chance points and 58-34 margin in points in the paint. Getting 36 points from its bench, the Purple & White enjoyed another good shooting day overall, hitting 39-for-74 (52.7 percent) of its shot attempts.
Amherst will face No. 3 North Central in the second of two semifinal tilts on Saturday, Mar. 23. Tip-off is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.