Jeffs Hold Off Lasell, 84-69
Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. – Five different Jeffs scored in double-figures to lead the sixth-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team (4-0) to an 84-69 victory over Lasell (1-3) in LeFrak Gymnasium.
Aaron Toomey ’14 netted a season-high 27 points on 7-for-15 shooting, including a perfect 11-for-11 showing at the free throw line, while Willy Workman ’13 recorded his second double-double of the year with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Connor Green ’16 added 13 points and seven boards, while Peter Kaasila ’13 and David Kalema ’14 finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Brandon Ganesh ’14 poured in a team-high 23 points on 8-for-14 shooting for Lasell, while Sean Bertanza ’13 netted 20 points to go along with four rebounds. Drew Roberts ’14 finished as the only other Laser in double figures with 11 points on 4-for-9 shooting.
Scoring five of the game’s first six points on a jumper from the right elbow and a three-pointer from the top of the key, Ganesh gave Lasell an early edge less than three minutes after the opening whistle. Amherst responded with a 10-2 run, taking a two-point lead on a Toomey straight-away three.
Roberts momentarily stemmed the Jeff tide with a bucket at 12:51, but another Toomey triple coupled with a Kaasila layup gave the home team a five-point margin. Trailing 24-17, Ganesh knocked down a trey from the right corner, kick-starting a quick 6-2 spurt that pulled the Lasers within three.
Knifing into the lane for two, Arthur Alexander ’13 suddenly made it a one-point game with just over two minutes left in the half, but Green buried a baseline triple to give the Jeffs a 31-27 lead heading into the intermission.
Still down five after a Kaasila layup with 17:31 to go, Ganesh and Bertanza buried consecutive baskets to pull the visitors back within one. Workman connected down low to make it 39-36 before a Kalema three followed by another Kaasila bucket pushed the lead to eight.
Trailing 52-45, Bertanza hit a pull-up jumper before Rob Roy ’14 went 2-for-2 from the charity stripe to bring Lasell back within three. Wrestling control of the game, Amherst responded with a decisive 14-3 run. Tom Killian ’14 got things started with a tip-in before a Ben Pollack ’16 layup and two Toomey free-throws pushed the margin to nine. Green later gave the Jeffs double-digit lead with a layup at 6:29 before a Pollack dunk on a run out following a missed three made it 66-52.
Ahead 13 with just under three minutes remaining in regulation, Green laid it in for two more before a pair of Toomey free throws gave the Jeffs their biggest lead of the evening at 79-62.
Amherst finished with a 38-18 advantage on the glass, with an 18-0 edge in second chance points and a 42-14 margin in points in the paint.
The Jeffs return to action on Friday, Nov. 30 against Elms in the Pioneer Valley Classic hosted by Westfield State.