Athletics

Hixon Wins 700th, Jeffs Defeat Babson, 90-77

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killianNEWBURY2.jpgWELLESLEY, Mass. - David Hixon notched his 700th career victory as head coach of the Amherst men’s basketball team Thursday night when the No. 7 Jeffs defeated Babson at Staake Gymnasium, 90-77.

Avenging last year's loss to the Beavers, the Jeffs improved to 7-1 on the season, while dropping Babson to 7-2 overall.

With the win, Hixon is now 700-253 in 37 seasons at the helm of his alma mater and ranks fourth all time in Division III in career victories, behind Glenn Robinson of Franklin and Marshall, Jim Smith at Saint John’s (MN) and Steve Moore from the College of Wooster. Hixon’s .735 winning percentage also ranks seventh all-time. The two-time NABC Coach of the Year and three-time NABC All-Region Coach of the Year has led Amherst to 15 NCAA Tournaments and a pair of national championships in 2006-07 and 2012-13.

Three Jeffs scored 20-plus points to lead Amherst to the win. Tom Killian ’14 led the way with a career-high 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting while going 4-of-7 from behind the arc. The senior also grabbed seven rebounds while Connor Green ’16 and Aaron Toomey ’14 scored 26 and 23 points, respectively. Green also pulled in a game-high eight boards while Toomey dished out a team-high eight assists. As a unit, the Jeffs shot 59.6 percent from the floor and held Babson to 43.3 percent shooting.

Five Beavers scored double figures in the loss. John Wickey ’15 went 3-for-7 from behind-the-arc to lead Babson with 19 points while Joey Flannery ’17 posted 17 with a team-high seven rebounds. Kenny Ross ’14 added 12 points and dished out a game-high nine assists.

Getting off to a fast start, Killian scored Amherst’s first 14 points, giving the Jeffs a five-point edge after draining his fourth three-pointer just 3:50 after the opening tip-off. After Wickey trimmed the deficit to one with a layup on the other end, Green connected on another from long distance to stretch the visitor’s margin to six.

Trailing 19-13 after a Killian alley-oop off a Toomey feed, Babson rattled off an 11-4 run, taking its first lead of the game on another Wickey bucket. Knotted at 34-34 with 4:27 to go in the half, Amherst ripped off an 11-6 spurt.

Held scoreless for the majority of the first 20 minutes, Toomey drilled a three-pointer from the left corner. The next time down the floor, the point guard hit another triple from the left wing before connecting on a pair from the charity stripe and two more treys to cap off a stretch of 14 straight Amherst points that helped give the Jeffs a slim 46-43 edge at the intermission.

Following a lay-up from Reid Berman ’17 at the 16:02 mark, Amherst had pulled ahead by seven early in the second half. Within the next six minutes, Babson cut into the lead and eventually pulled back in front after a steal by David Mack ’15 led to a three-point play that made it 63-61 with 9:10 remaining in regulation.

Despite taking a lead, the momentum quickly shifted in the Jeffs favor as a lay-up from Killian sparked a 15-1 run capped off by a three-pointer from Green as Amherst led 81-67 with just over three minutes on the clock. The deficit was too much to overcome as the Jeffs pulled away with the 90-77 win.

Taking a break for the holidays, the Purple & White return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 1 when they travel to Nova Southeastern.