WALTHAM, Mass. – The No. 3 Amherst College men's basketball team held off a strong rally by Brandeis University Tuesday night to prevail in non-conference action, 72-65.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Amherst led by as much as 17 in the first half, but the Judges retaliated and eventually took a five-point lead in the second as the Purple & White would claim the win in the closing seconds.
- Five players scored in double-figures for Amherst, who was led by Johnny McCarthy '18 with 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, and Jeff Racy '17 who scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from downtown. Jayde Dawson '18 added 13, Michael Riopel '18 scored 12 off the bench with seven rebounds, and Connor Green '16 recorded 10 points and six boards. David George '17 blocked five shots and Reid Berman '18 dished out three assists.
- Amherst shot 45.3% (24-53) from the floor, 44.4% (12-27) from three-point range, and 66.7% (12-18) from the charity stripe, while holding a slight 37-34 edge in rebounding.
- Jordan Cooper led Brandeis with a game-high 21 points, while Robinson Vilmont did a little bit of everything. Vilmont scored 15 points, led all players with six assists, and grabbed seven rebounds.
- The Judges shot 42.6% (26-61) but just 15.8% (3-19) from beyond-the-arc. They also finished 62.5% (10-16) from the free throw line, while scoring 19 points off turnovers and holding a decisive 40-24 edge in points in the paint.
FIRST HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- Amherst scored the first six points of the game off back-to-back three-pointers by Racy and McCarthy.
- Another three from Racy at the 16:17 mark gave the visitor's a 10-point advantage.
- Less than a minute later, Cooper cut the deficit to eight, but a lay-up by Riopel with 13:53 to play in the first half sparked a 14-5 Amherst run. Green hit one from downtown to cap off the steak to give the Purple & White its largest lead of the game, up 28-11.
- Brandeis responded, however, and scored 12 unanswered to get within five with 5:42 remaining before the break.
- The home team continued to apply pressure and knotted the game at 30-30 following a pair of free throws by Tim Reale at the 1:32 mark – the first tie of the game – before Amherst scored six straight to take a 36-30 lead into halftime.
SECOND HALF HIGHLIGHTS
- Brandeis held Amherst scoreless for the first 4:47 of the second half, and took its first lead of the game with 15:42 remaining in regulation following a lay-up by Vilmont.
- The game went back-and-forth throughout the remainder of the contest as neither team could pull away.
- A free throw by John Powell at the 13:23 mark gave Brandeis its largest lead of the game, up 47-42, however Racy led an Amherst comeback attempt with consecutive shots from beyond-the-arc to cap off a 15-4 run by the visitor's in a little over six minutes.
- Brandeis wouldn't back down and got within two after a three-pointer by Robinson with 38 seconds to play, but Amherst held on for the tough non-conference road win, 72-65.
- Amherst returns to the court in two days and will play No. 19 Babson on the road Thursday, Dec. 10. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.
- Brandeis is off for roughly three weeks and will return to action Wednesday, Dec. 30 to host Fitchburg State at 6 p.m.