February 3, 2006
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – The 10th-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team left little up to chance on Friday night forcing 14 turnovers and outrebounding the host Ephs 39-30, while connecting on 46.7% (28-of-60) of their shots from the field as they toppled NESCAC and Little Three archrival Williams College, 83-55.
Senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) and sophomore point guard Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) fueled the Amherst machine, posting 20 and 13 points, respectively, while the Jeffs' ball handling was impeccable, turning the ball over a season-low five times. Amherst improved to 18-2 (5-1 NESCAC), while Williams fell to 16-5 overall and 4-2 in conference play.
Both squads crept out of the gates as Williams would take a 3-0 lead on a shot by sophomore Chris Rose (Middletown, NY) just over two minutes into play, and the Jeffs wouldn't find their way on to the board until the 16:41-mark as Bedford splashed a trifecta on the break. The three-point rain would continue for both squads as the first 18 points of the game (9-9) all came from behind the arc. The first two-point bucket of the game wouldn't come until the seventh minute of play as Olson floated in a runner to give the Jeffs an 11-9 edge.
Olson proceeded to guide the Jeffs on a 15-0 run over the next few minutes, pushing their edge to 24-9, and forcing a Williams time out at the 9:54-mark. The break paused the onslaught as neither side found the bottom of the net for almost two minutes, but a nifty post move from Williams senior Andrew Newton (Whitinsville, MA) and a three-ball from Amherst junior Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) got the scoring back on track.
Consecutive threes from Rose and classmate Chris Shalvoy (Rochester, NY) pulled Williams back within 11, 27-16, but Amherst sophomore Adolphe Couibaly (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) answered with a two-handed drop-step jam to push the tide back in the Jeffs' direction. Bedford continued the attack, willing his way to the hole for a layup, and Olson stuck a fadeaway jumper to make it a 33-18 Amherst advantage with just over three minutes in the half. The Ephs managed to keep pace through the rest of the frame, but another three from McLaughlin allowed Amherst to carry a 43-29 edge into the break.
Amherst came out of the locker room firing as Olson knifed his way to the bucket and then lofted a beautiful alley-oop to Bedford to quickly extend the lead to 19, 48-19. Amherst junior Dan O'Shea (Lawrence, MA) laid claim to the glass, snatching down several quick boards and refusing the Ephs any second chances on the offensive end.
Williams first-year Kevin Snyder (Littleton, CO) finally ended the second-half drought, hitting a three just under six minutes into the session, but this wouldn't stop the bleeding. Amherst continually attacked the hoop, dropping layup after layup and free throw after free throw and maintaining a 20-point cushion until the 7:53-mark, when Rose connected on his third three of the game to make it 64-45 Amherst.
If reality hadn't already set in for Williams, Amherst sophomore Matt Goldsmith (Morristown, NJ) made it so, drilling a three from the top of the key and slipping in a turnaround jumper to up the Jeffs' advantage to 70-49, and the Ephs would get no closer. Both squads would go to the bench down the stretch and the Jeffs would cruise to their fourth straight victory over Williams and their eighth consecutive win this season.
Bedford added five boards, while Olson dished out four assists. Joining them in double-figures were McLaughlin and Goldsmith with 10 points apiece, while senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) and junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) pulled down seven caroms each.
Rose paced Williams with 16 points, while senior Casey Gibbons (Weston, MA) added 10 points and Newton pulled down a game-high 12 boards.
Amherst returns to action tomorrow (Saturday) at 3 p.m. at NESCAC opponent Middlebury College.