PAXTON, Mass. – The top-ranked Amherst College men's basketball team shot 50.9% from the field, highlighted by a 20-point effort from Johnny McCarthy '18 as the Purple & White posted a 75-64 victory over Anna Maria College Monday afternoon in Paxton, Mass.
With the win, Amherst, Amherst improves to 3-0, while Anna Maria moves to 0-4 on the season. The Purple & White return to action Tuesday, Nov. 29 when they host Westfield State University at 7 p.m.
In the first half, Jacob Nabatoff '17 canned an early trey to give Amherst a 5-2 advantage less than two minutes into the contest. The sides played to three tie scores before a Nabatoff layup at the 14:34 mark gave the Purple & White a 12-9 lead. At the 12:06 mark, Malik Forouzan powered in a bucket in the paint to give Anna Maria a 15-14 edge. From there, McCarthy made four straight baskets, including a swish from three-point range with 8:54 left in the frame to help the visitors stake a 23-17 lead.
The AMCATS responded with a pair of Mike Rapoza free throws, and a Rapoza layup to pull Anna Maria to within two at 23-21. With 4:16 remaining in the first half, Forouzan drained a triple to pull the AMCATS to within one (29-28), but Amherst scored seven straight points as McCarthy swished a shot from beyond-the-arc, while Jayde Dawson '18 and Nabatoff added layups to make it 36-28 with 1:01 on the clock. A pair of Liam Pickett free throws made it 36-30, before Dawson knocked down a three-pointer with 23 seconds left, and then blocked David Jean-Louis's three-pointer attempt to close out the half with the Purple & White holding a 39-30 lead.
Amherst extended its lead to 14 early in the second half as Jeff Racy '17 struck from long distance, before McCarthy made a layup to give the Purple & White a 44-30 lead. A Rapoza layup at the 15:11 mark pulled Anna Maria to within six (55-44), but the visitors responded with a three-point play from Eric Conklin '17, a McCarthy layup, and a Nabatoff trey to extend the lead back to 14 (58-44) with 13:25 to play in the game. The AMCATS scored eight of the next 10 points to shrink the deficit to 60-52 before Michael Riopel '18 swished a triple. Tanner Jakola answered with a three-pointer of his own on the next possession, but Riopel struck again from downtown to make it 66-55 with 8:13 remaining in the contest.
Two foul shots by Rapoza set the score at 66-57 before Racy hit another three-pointer to push the lead to 69-57. From there, the Purple & White scored six of the final 10 points, capped by a Conklin bucket underneath to complete the 75-64 victory.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- McCarthy finished with 20 points, while Dawson and Nabatoff added 12 points apiece. Conklin and Riopel combined for 17 of Amherst's 18 points off the bench, while David George '17 chipped in seven points.
- McCarthy, Nabatoff and Conklin pulled in six rebounds each, while Dawson and Reid Berman '17 dished out eight and six assists respectively.
- Rapoza hit on 6-of-10 from the floor and 10-of-11 from the free throw line en route to a game-high 22 points in addition to pulling in a game-high seven boards. Pickett added 10 points off the bench, while Kenneth Graham chipped in eight points in the losing effort.