January 28, 2006
AMHERST, MA – The 10th-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team overcame a dismal first-half shooting performance and a 33-26 halftime deficit to topple visiting upset-minded NESCAC foe Colby College on Saturday, 78-59. Amherst improved to 16-2 (4-1 NESCAC) with the win, while the Mules fell to 6-12 overall and remained winless in conference play at 0-5.
The Jeffs were ice cold in the first frame, connecting on just 10-of-43 attempts from the field, including a four-for-24 showing from behind the arc. They only managed to stay in the game due to an outstanding effort on the glass as they outrebounded the Mules 29-18, including a 16-1 advantage on the offensive end. Colby never established a secure lead until the final two minutes of the half as junior center Drew Cohen (Briarcliff Manor, NY) scored five straight points to give the Mules a seven-point edge at the break.
Colby's lead wouldn't last long in the second session as the Jeffs came out firing. They drained six of their first eight three-point attempts, including a bomb from the right corner from junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) to give Amherst the lead for good at the 15:14-mark. Wheeler continued to get the Jeffs' blood flowing as he took a fast break feed from sophomore Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) and ripped home a one-handed dunk to put Amherst up 50-42 just inside the 12:58-mark. The Jeffs' onslaught of the glass continued down the stretch as they continually got multiple chances on the offensive end, while limiting the Mules to one-and-done on defense.
Colby senior Nate Dick (N. Attleboro, MA) tried to keep the Mules in it down the stretch, scoring their final seven points of the game, but Amherst's second-half offense was relentless, stretching the lead to its biggest of the game as the final horn sounded.
Senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) paced Amherst with 17 points, on five threes, five rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals. Fellow co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) finished close behind with 16 points and eight boards, while sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) tallied a career-high 15 points and eight caroms. Olson posted his second double-double of the season, notching 13 points and 10 assists, and Wheeler scored 10 points and grabbed eight rebounds, all on the offensive end. Sophomore center Kevin Hopkins (Saratoga Springs, NY) was big on the glass as well, hauling in seven boards.
Cohen had an outstanding game for Colby, racking up 28 points, five rebounds and five blocks. Dick was the only other Mule in double-figures with 12, while junior teammate Nick Farrell (Aspen, CO) posted seven points and seven assists.
Amherst returns to action Tuesday at 7 p.m. at non-conference opponent Brandeis University.