Athletics

Toomey Leads Second Half Surge as Amherst Cruises Past Rhode Island College, 80-60

Contact: Mike O'Brien

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killianBABSON.jpgAMHERST, Mass. – Aaron Toomey ’14 scored 22 second half points and led a 30-5 run to lift the third-ranked Amherst College men’s basketball team to an 80-60 non-conference win over Rhode Island College on Wednesday night at LeFrak Gymnasium.

The Jeffs (16-2) extended their winning streak to nine straight games and four consecutive against their regional rival. With the loss, the Anchormen fall to 12-7 on the season.

After a scoreless first half, Toomey finished the game with 22 points on 7-for-13 shooting, 3-of-7 from downtown and a perfect 5-for-5 from the line. Leading the team in scoring, however, was Tom Killian ’14 with 26 points, one shy of tying his career-high. The senior forward shot 9-for-14 from the floor and 4-for-7 from three-point range. He also finished with a game-high nine boards and a career-high five steals while David Kalema ’14 pitched in 13 points to join his fellow captains in double-figures.

The Anchormen were led by Nyheem Sanders ’14 and Chris Burton ’15 with 16 and 15 points, respectively. Sanders also finished tied with a team-high in rebounds (5) and assists (3).

The first half went back and forth throughout the majority of play. Following a free throw from Killian at the 16:28 mark, the Jeffs grabbed their largest lead early on, up four. However, a lay-up from Burton on the Anchormen’s next possession sparked an 11-0 run as they took a 16-9 lead.

David Kalema ’14 eventually broke Amherst’s scoring drought at the 12:13 mark when the senior guard caused a turnover and finished the play with a one-handed fast break dunk. The momentum quickly shifted in the Jeffs’ favor and a lay-up by Ben Pollack ’16 minutes later gave Amherst the lead again, up 20-19.

Trailing by three in the closing minutes, Kalema hit a lay-up with 14 seconds before the break to cut the deficit to one. On the Anchormen inbound, Killian forced a turnover and connected on a three-point play for a quick five point turnaround. However, Jacob Page ’15 was fouled with two seconds to go and hit both foul shots to tie the game at the break, 36-36.

RIC came out hot to start the second half and a three-pointer from Sanders gave the Anchormen a nine-point lead, up 49-40 with 16:30 remaining. Despite the strong start, Amherst answered behind the solid play of Toomey.

The Jeffs all-time leading scorer hit one from downtown to spark a 10-0 run. Toomey wasn’t finished and added another three-pointer at the 11:05 mark to put Amherst up once again, 53-51, and they never looked back.

Consecutive three-pointers from Killian, followed by a spectacular alley-oop from Toomey to the senior forward, put Amherst up nine as the Jeffs went on to outscore their opponent, 40-11, in the final 15 minutes of play.

Amherst is back in action on Friday, Jan. 31 and will face Colby in a NESCAC matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.