No. 7 Jeffs Hold Off Brandeis, 75-70
Courtesy of Brandeis Sports Information
WALTHAM, Mass. — Four different Jeffs scored in double figures as the seventh-ranked Amherst men’s basketball team held off regional rival Brandeis University at Red Auerbach Arena, 75-70.
Taking its largest lead of the game thanks to a 12-3 run that made it 69-52 with 5:26 remaining in regulation, Amherst staved off a furious Brandeis rally that saw the Judges get as close as four with 12 seconds left.
Picking up their second win over Brandeis in three meetings, the Jeffs bounced back from their first setback of the season to move to 6-1 on the year, while the Judges fell to 6-3. With the win, head coach David Hixon improved to 699-253 in his career. In the midst of his 37th season at his alma mater, Hixon will get his first chance to reach the 700-win plateau when Amherst travels to Babson on Thursday, Dec. 12.
Scoring 19 of his game-high 27 points in the second half, Jeff senior Aaron Toomey ’14 was 7-for-15 from the field, 4-for-9 from three-point range and 9-for-11 from the line, while adding six assists and four rebounds. Connor Green ’16 connected on four of his five field goal attempts for 12 points, while David Kalema ’14 and Tom Killian ’14 each chipped in with 11.
Gabriel Moton ’14 paced Brandeis with 22 points, going 14-for-15 from the free throw line, while Youri Dascy ’14 had 16 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Ben Bartoldus ’14 was the only other Judge in double digits with 13 points and six boards.
Up 34-31 at the intermission, Green stretched the margin to six with a triple to open the second half scoring. Trailing 41-33 after a Killian trey, Bartoldus drained a three-pointer of his own to bring Brandeis back within five. At that point, Toomey scored eight of the game’s next 10 points, including two from beyond the arc, to push the lead to 49-38. A steal by Killian led to a Kalema triple at the 14:39 mark that made it 52-38.
Brandeis made a run shortly thereafter, buoyed by two Derek Retos ’14 three-pointers that got the home team back within 10. A Dascy bucket then made it 57-49 midway through the second. The Judges had a chance to get closer, but a second charging call on Bartoldus in a span of just over 90 seconds helped spark the run that gave Amherst its largest lead with Toomey and Green combining to score all 12 of the team’s points during that stretch.
With the Jeffs going up 17 late in the second half, Brandeis answered by holding the visitors scoreless over the next two minutes and 35 seconds. During that span, the Judges hit 5-of-6 free throws, including 4-of-4 from Moton.
After playing a two-man game with first-year Tim Reale, Moton connected from downtown from right in front of the home bench at the 2:41 mark, and the lead was cut to single digits at 69-60 with 2:41 to go.
Toomey hit 1-of-2 from the line to momentarily stem the tide, but Bartoldus drove past Toomey on the next possession to get Brandeis within eight. Green responded with a pair from the stripe, but Brandeis came right back on a Dascy lay-up with 1:43 remaining, making it 72-63.
On the next possession, Toomey let the shot clock wind down before stepping back for a 3-pointer, which rattled around the rim and popped out. Dascy then tied up Amherst first-year David George for a jump ball before getting fouled and hitting 1-of-2 to get the Judges within seven.
With full court pressure, Brandeis forced Amherst into one timeout with 51.4 seconds left. Following the break, the Purple & White were able to break the pressure and the ball found its way into George’s hands. Brandeis fouled the big man, who missed both free throws, but Killian grabbed a key offensive rebound. Amherst was able to run more time off the clock before Kalema hit two from the charity stripe with 37.3 seconds remaining to push the lead back to nine at 74-65.
Brandeis got a quick bucket off the glass by Dascy with 26.3 seconds left before calling their final timeout. On the ensuing inbounds play, they were able to send George to the line again, who could not add to the Amherst lead. Moton got the rebound off the second miss and raced down the court, where he hit a deep three-pointer from the right side with 14.7 seconds left to cut the deficit to 74-70. After a quick foul, Brandeis sent Green to the line with 11.1 on the clock.
With the sophomore missing both, Bartoldus pulled down the rebound and in the process he was fouled by Green, giving the Judges a chance to make it a one possession game. Falling short, both of Bartoldus shots were off the mark, allowing Green to get the rebound. Heading back to the line, the swingman connected on 1-of-2 to help seal the Amherst win.