December 6, 2005
AMHERST, MA - The fourth-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team rolled over visiting non-conference foe Western New England College (WNEC) on Tuesday night, 78-57, remaining undefeated at 5-0 on the season. The Jeffs shot a red-hot 50.9% (27-for-53) from the field, led by senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ), who notched a team-high 15 points on six-for-10 shooting.
Junior center Dan O'Shea (Lawrence, MA) raced the Jeffs out to an early 12-4 edge, drilling a pair of 17-footers from the top of the key en route to eight quick points. WNEC senior captain Jon Godbout (Bristol, CT) rallied the Golden Bears, knocking down five straight free throws to cut the lead to two, 17-15. However, the Amherst offense proved too potent as senior Keith Zalaski (Simsbury, CT) fed sophomore teammate Adolphe Coulibaly (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) for a pretty up-and-under layup, and Coulibaly returned the favor just moments later, skipping a cross-court pass to Zalaski for the trifecta, to push the lead back to eight. Amherst displayed another scoring flurry in the closing minutes of the half as five different Jeffs found the bottom of the net, highlighted by a no-look, right-handed floater from Zalaski, to post a 10-2 run and a 46-29 advantage at the break.
Solid second-half play from Amherst held the Golden Bears at bay and kept the lead near 20 throughout the remainder of play. The Jeff defense hosted a block party in the paint, rejecting 12 WNEC shots, led by junior Dan Wheeler's (Bloomington, MN) career-high four blocks and sophomore Fletcher Walter's (Ann Arbor, MI) collegiate-best three denials. O'Shea finished with a season-high 13 points, while Wheeler added 12 points. Senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while compiling three assists, two steals and a block, and sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) chipped in eight points and six boards. Zalaski and sophomore point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) registered four assists apiece.
Godbout led WNEC with 16 points, including a perfect seven-for-seven from the free throw line, while sophomore Ryan Hernandez (Hampton Bays, NY) drilled a trio of threes en route to 11 points. Junior Deon Thomas (Albany, NY) paced the Golden Bears on the boards with nine caroms.
Amherst returns to action Saturday at 2 p.m. against visiting non-conference foe Worcester State College.