December 10, 2005
AMHERST, MA - The fourth-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team shot a blistering 56.9% (33-for-58) from the field en route to a 94-65 non-conference victory over visiting Worcester State College on Saturday afternoon. Amherst senior co-captain John Bedford (Ridgewood, NJ) did the majority of the damage, notching 17 points in just 20 minutes of action, as the Jeffs remained undefeated at 6-0, while Worcester St. fell to 2-4.
The Jeffs' ball movement was tremendous throughout, registering 27 assists on their 33 field goals. Sophomore floor general Andrew Olson (San Diego, CA) led the distribution with eight dimes, while senior Keith Zalaski (Simsbury, CT) added four helpers and sophomore Brandon Jones (Hopatcong, NJ) posted a career-high three assists.
Amherst's defense set the tone early, holding the visiting Lancers scoreless for the first 3:44 of regulation and keeping them in single-digits until the 10:27-mark. The Jeffs forced nine first-half turnovers, tallying steals on each, which they deftly converted into nine points. Meanwhile, the Jeffs were pouring in buckets on the offensive, stretching their lead to as many as 20 (27-7) in the opening minutes, and cruising to a 44-26 advantage at the break. The only things keeping Worcester St. in the game were an outstanding 11 offensive rebounds and nine turnovers by the Jeffs.
The Jeffs came out firing again in the second half, pulling ahead by 26 on a Bedford trifecta and allowing head coach David Hixon '75, who is now just two wins shy of his 500th career victory, to dig deep into his bench down the stretch. Jones put the exclamation point on the rout with a two-handed jam off a feed from junior Tim McLaughlin (Chatham, NJ) near the six-minute mark.
Fifteen different players found the scoring column for Amherst, as the lead grew as high as 31 by way of a 12-0 Jeff run in the waning minutes. McLaughlin tied a career-high with 12 points, while senior co-captain John Casnocha (San Francisco, CA) added nine points, six rebounds and a trio of steals. Junior Dan Wheeler (Bloomington, MN) tallied eight points, five boards, two assists and three steals, and classmate Dan O'Shea (Lawrence, MA) chipped in seven points, four caroms and a trio of blocks. Sophomore Adolphe Coulibaly (Abidjan, Ivory Coast) posted an impressive eight points and nearly posterized a pair of Worcester St. defenders with near dunks that were stopped short only by fouls.
Junior Mark Retallic (Oxford, MA) led the Lancers with a game-high 21 points, nine rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Senior Tyson Drayton (Roxbury, MA) and junior Guevara Raymond (Miami, FL) joined Retallic in double-figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively, while Drayton added six boards and four assists.
Amherst returns to action Monday at 7 p.m. against visiting non-conference foe Emmanuel College.