AMHERST, MA – The third-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team scored 18 of the game's first 21 points and never relinquished the lead during a 79-65 win over Brandeis University Tuesday evening in LeFrak Gymnasium.
Allen Williamson '13 (Saugus, MA) and Conor Meehan '11 (Meriden, CT) combined for 38 points and 10 rebounds for the Lord Jeffs (21-0), who earned their first regular-season victory over the Judges since 2006-07. Brandeis (13-7) has now lost four consecutive games and seven of its past nine.
In addition to Meehan's game-high 21 points and Williamson's 17, Amherst got 13 points from Aaron Toomey '14 (Greensboro, NC) thanks to an 8-of-8 performance at the line, as the Lord Jeffs hit 29 of their 35 free throws in the game. Ben Bartoldus '14 had 12 points to lead the Judges, who shot 18.8 percent from long range (3-of-16) and 62.9 percent from the charity stripe (22-of-35).
Brandeis missed its first six shots and turned the ball over three times in the opening four minutes, allowing the Lord Jeffs to sprint out to a 9-0 lead thanks to outstanding team basketball. Tyrone Hughes '12 put the Judges on the board with a three-pointer, but the hosts used another 9-0 run to push the score to 18-3. Brandeis would hit only three shots in the opening 10 minutes, as Amherst led by double digits for the final 13:50 of the opening period.
Brandeis center Youri Dascy '14 hit a layup as time expired to make it a 40-24 game at the half. The Judges started 2-of-13 from the floor and would finish the first period at 9-of-29 (31.0 percent), while Amherst shot 46.4 percent overall and 12-of-14 from the free throw line. Meehan led all scorers with 14 points at the break, with Tim Prowitt '12 (Arlington, VA) providing seven of the Amherst bench's 12 first-half points.
The Judges came out much sharper in the second half, with back-to-back three-point plays by Bartoldus and Alex Schmidt '14 leading a 12-2 run that brought the score to 55-45 with 12:55 remaining. Brandeis stayed within striking distance but would not cut its deficit to single digits until Hughes knocked down a three-pointer with 4:09 to go, making it a 72-63 game.
A Dascy layup on the visitors' next possession made it 72-65 in favor of the hosts, but a free throw by Peter Kaasila '13 (Plaistow, NH) and a David Waller '12 (Tampa, FL) three from the left wing pushed Amherst's lead back to 11 (76-65) and put the game out of reach with only 2:10 on the clock.
Schmidt finished right behind Bartoldus with 11 points, while Christian Yemga '11 had six points, nine boards and three assists. Amherst, which entered the game leading Division III in rebounding margin, held a 41-34 edge on the glass.
The Lord Jeffs will return to action Friday, Feb. 11, when they travel to take on Middlebury College at 6 p.m. in a pivotal conference game. The Judges will host Carnegie Mellon Friday at 8 p.m.