No. 1 Men’s Basketball Comeback Falls Short, Edged by Springfield, 71-70

No. 1 Men’s Basketball Comeback Falls Short, Edged by Springfield, 71-70

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – No. 1 Amherst College used a game-high 25-point, nine-rebound effort from Johnny McCarthy '18, and the Purple & White clawed back from a 10-point second half deficit, but fell 71-70 to Springfield College in Wednesday evening's non-conference men's basketball game at Blake Arena in Springfield, Mass.

With the loss, Amherst suffers its first setback of the season and moves to 8-1 overall, while Springfield improves to 4-5 on the season.

Trailing 37-28 at halftime, Amherst chipped away at its deficit early in the second half as Jayde Dawson '18 hit 3-of-4 free throws, while McCarthy swished a pair of treys to help bring the Purple & White to within four at 43-39 at the 15:52 mark of the frame. Another strike from three-point range by McCarthy at the 14:04 mark narrowed the deficit to three (45-42), before Eric Conklin '17 hit the first of two foul shots to pull Amherst to within two.

A dunk by David George '17 at the 10:33 mark set the score at 51-49 in favor of Springfield, before the Pride rallied for six straight points to up their advantage to 57-49 as Keegan McDonough powered in a pair of layups in the process. A bucket in the paint by Kevin Durkin with 5:56 on the clock gave the hosts a 64-54 lead before McCarthy responded with a triple, and Jacob Nabatoff '17 notched a bucket underneath to pull Amherst to within five at 64-59. A three-pointer by Andy McNulty pushed Springfield's cushion back to eight at 67-59 before Dawson hit a mid-range jumper to make it 67-61 with 4:32 to play.

The Pride extended their lead back to 10 (71-61) after Heath Post knocked down a pair of free throws, but a McCarthy layup, followed by a swish from three-point range by Jeff Racy '17 on the fast-break quickly cut the lead to five (71-66) with 1:37 to play in regulation. The Purple & White then pulled to within three when Racy connected on the back end of two free throws to set the score at 71-68 with one minute on the clock. After Racy collected an offensive rebound on Amherst's next possession, Conklin powered in a layup with eight seconds remaining to make it 71-70 in favor of Springfield. Jake Ross then missed a pair of free throws with five ticks on the clock and McCarthy pulled in the rebound and attempted a deep trey but Ross was able to block the attempt and seal the thrilling one point win for the Pride.  

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • McCarthy was 9-for-19 from the field including a tremendous 7-for-15 effort from three-point range. His 25 points tied his collegiate career-high for a single game. He also pulled in nine boards, recorded two assists, two blocks and three steals. Dawson finished with 21 points on 6-of-18 shooting and was 7-for-11 from the free throw line. He dished out four helpers and a block.
  • Off the bench, Conklin chipped in nine points and pulled down five rebounds, while Reid Berman '17 handed out four assists.
  • Ross finished with 21 points for Springfield and pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds, while Post and Durkin chipped in 12 and 11 points respectively. McDonough added eight points and nine rebounds. McNulty added eight points and four assists, while Stanley Davis chipped in four helpers in reserve.
  • Springfield shot 40.9% while Amherst was 36.4% shooting from the field. The Pride also held a 36-45 edge in points in the paint.