Jeffs Suffer First Setback With Loss to Springfield

Courtesy of Westfield State Sports Information


WESTFIELD, Mass. - Despite junior David Kalema’s career-high 22 points on 8-for-13 shooting, the sixth-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team suffered its first setback of the season with a 70-64 loss to Springfield College at the 12th annual Pioneer Valley Classic.

Both teams now own 5-1 records as the Pride handed the Lord Jeffs just their second loss in 24 Classic games. Elms defeated Amherst, 88-79, in the 2009 PVC Classic.

Springfield, which dropped a 69-54 decision to Westfield State on Friday evening, led for most of the first half, which included a 33-28 edge at the intermission.

The Pride took their first double-digit lead, 44-32, early in the second on a three-point basket by Jordan Rote ’13, and built its biggest lead of 19 points, 52-34, on a conventional three-point play by Pat Rossi ’13 with 14:27 remaining.

Amherst gradually chipped into the deficit and closed to within five points on junior Aaron Toomey’s three-point play at 7:59 that made it 59-54, but another old-fashioned three-point play by Rossi later stretch the lead to nine.

Springfield survived the Amherst comeback despite missing four free throws in the final 30 seconds. Two made free throws by Peter Kaasila ’13 cut the margin to 67-64 with 1:20 remaining. Amherst had two chances to score following Springfield free throw misses, but Toomey missed a layup and a three-point basket. Sean Martin ’14 finally made a free throw that gave the Pride a 68-64 lead with 17 seconds on the clock, before two Jeff turnovers in the final seconds sealed the win.

Willy Workman ’13 had 12 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, while Toomey finished with 14 points following his 32-point outburst in a victory over Elms College on Friday. With 972 career points, the senior point guard now stands just 28 points shy of becoming just the 25th person in program history to surpass the 1,000-point plateau.

Alex Berthiaume ’13 led the Pride with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Rossi had 14 points and eight boards on 5-for-9 shooting. Josh Altman ’15 was the only other Springfield player in double figures with 12 points and five rebounds.

Amherst shot just 35.0 percent (21-for-60) from the field, while Springfield connected on 42.4 percent (28-for-66) of its attempts despite shooting just 18.2 percent (2-for-11) from three-point range.

Out-rebounded for the first time this season (46-37), the Jeffs gave up 15 first half points on second chances, while also getting outscored in the paint by a 44-20 margin. Helping to force 19 turnovers, Springfield nabbed 12 steals, while scoring 16 points off Amherst miscues.

The Lord Jeffs will look to break back into the win column on Tuesday, Dec. 4 against Emmanuel.