Green Helps Power Jeffs Past Nichols, 114-86
Contact: Ben Badua
AMHERST, Mass. - Five different Jeffs scored in double figures as the top-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team captured the 2013 Ken Wright ’52 Memorial Invitational title with a decisive 114-86 victory over Nichols College at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Shooting a blistering 60.6 percent (40-for-66) from the field, Amherst connected on 15 of its 30 three-pointers (50.0 percent), while holding the Bison to 47.5 percent (28-of-59) shooting and a 7-for-22 (31.8 percent) clip from long distance.
Going 6-for-8 from behind the arc, Connor Green ’16 paced Amherst with 21 points and four rebounds. Hitting 16-of-23 shot attempts (69.6 percent) and 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) of his triples, the sophomore swingman averaged 26.0 points per game en route to Tournament MVP honors. Aaron Toomey ’14 joined Green on the all-tourney squad thanks to a 13-point, eight-assist, five-rebound effort in Saturday’s finale.
David Kalema ’14 chipped in with 16 points and five assists, while Tom Killian ’14 had 13 points, making 3-of-5 threes. Ben Pollack ’16 rounded out the list of Jeffs in double digits with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting with five boards.
Controlling play over the first five minutes, Amherst quickly built a 19-5 lead. The Jeffs connected on six of their first eight shots, with Toomey, Green and Killian each hitting triples during that span. Battling back, Nichols trimmed the deficit to nine over the next couple of minutes thanks to a Marlon Bennett ’15 jumper and Jalen Hurst ’16 three-pointer.
The Purple & White responded with a 10-3 run, building a 16-point cushion on a Kalema layup. The Bison pulled within 12 at 38-26 on a Ryan Sheehan ’14 bucket at 4:50, but the Jeffs netted 14 of the game’s next 20 points to extend the margin to 22. Pollack got the run started with a layup before four-consecutive treys from Connor Gach ’14, Killian and Green capped off the decisive first half stretch.
Amherst continued to roll in the second period, mounting a 13-2 run over the first 3:13 of the frame. Killian and Pollack got things started with consecutive layups, before Kalema knifed into the paint for two. Matt Langadas ’15 momentarily stemmed the tide with Nichols’ first field goal of the half, but two-straight Green and Killian three-pointers upped the Amherst cushion to 69-39.
A Chris Johnson ’15 dunk at 15:48 pulled the Bison within 26, but that was as close as the visitors would get, with Amherst leading by as much as 36 with 6:43 remaining in regulation. Sheehan paved the way for Nichols offensively, netting 25 points on 6-for-14 shooting and a perfect 12-for-12 showing from the charity stripe. Johnson added 12 points and six rebounds, while Langadas chipped in with 10 points, three boards and three assists.
The home team finished with a 39-26 rebounding edge, while outscoring the Bison in second chance points, 18-6. Helping the Purple & White turn 13 Nichols turnovers into 24 points, Amherst’s bench also held a 41-27 scoring edge in what was a balanced offensive effort.
The Jeffs return to action on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Westfield State University.