McCarthy’s Buzzer Beater Lifts No. 16 Men’s Basketball Over Bowdoin, 66-64

McCarthy’s Buzzer Beater Lifts No. 16 Men’s Basketball Over Bowdoin, 66-64

AMHERST, Mass. – With just one second remaining in regulation and trailing 64-63, No. 16 Amherst College used a deep trey from Johnny McCarthy '18 to lift the Purple & White to a thrilling, come-from-behind victory over Bowdoin College in Friday evening's NESCAC men's basketball game LeFrak Gymnasium.

With the win, Amherst improves to 11-4 overall, 2-2 in league action, while Bowdoin moves to 9-7 on the season, 1-3 in NESCAC play. The Purple & White return to action Saturday, Jan. 21 when they host Colby College at 3 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium.

Trailing 60-47 with 5:46 left in the contest, Jayde Dawson '18 canned a trey to pull Amherst to within 10 at 60-50. A layup by Michael Riopel '18 pulled the Purple & White to within eight, before McCarthy corralled an offensive rebound on a triple by Dawson, and sank a three-pointer of his own to make it 60-55 in favor of Bowdoin with three minutes to play. Three straight baskets by Dawson allowed the hosts to take a 61-60 lead with just 37 seconds on the clock as Amherst scored 14 unanswered points in a five-minute span to take their first lead of the game.

Following a critical steal by McCarthy, Amherst earned pair of free throws by Jacob Nabatoff '17 that gave the Purple & White a 63-60 advantage, a technical foul for too many men on the court sent Bowdoin's Jack Simonds to the free throw line where he delivered a clutch foul shot with eight seconds remaining. Retaining possession, Simonds then found Jack Bors in the corner for a go-ahead three-pointer that vaulted the Polar Bears into the lead, 64-63 with just six seconds left. McCarthy answered with a sensational three-pointer of his own from 20 feet away on the right wing as time expired as the Purple & White were able to secure the 66-64 comeback win.

Amherst, which played from behind for the majority of the contest, was down 32-23 at halftime despite a 14-point effort from Dawson in the first 20 minutes. Bowdoin held Amherst to 28.1% shooting from the floor, 12.5% efficiency from three-point range, and 50% from the free throw line in the opening stanza, while hitting 45.8% of its shots, and connection on 9-of-10 from the free throw line. Simonds scored nine points in the first half, while Hugh O'Neil and Bors totaled eight and seven respectively to lead the Polar Bears.

In the second half, Bowdoin extended its lead to as many as 15 (46-31) when Simonds hit a mid-range jumper at the 13:58 mark. A McCarthy trey allowed Amherst to stay in the contest as the Purple & White slowly chipped away at the lead setting the stage for the Purple & White's late surge that was capped by Dawson and McCarthy's heroics.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Dawson scored a game-high 27 points on 9-of-21 shooting including a pair of three-pointers and a 7-for-7 effort from the free throw line. He added five assists, four steals and four rebounds.
  • McCarthy totaled 15 points on the strength of a 3-for-9 effort from downtown, collected eight rebounds and notched two steals.
  • David George '17 added eight points (all in the second half) and two blocked shots in the winning effort, while Nabatoff finished with seven points and eight boards.
  • Bowdoin was led by Simonds' 20-point effort, while Bors finished with 13, and O'Neil 10 points.
  • O'Neil and Simonds were also the Polar Bears' leaders on the glass, notching eight and seven rebounds respectively.
  • Tim Ahn dished out four assists, while Simonds added three helpers as the visitors shot 48.9% for the contest, 42.9% from three-point range (led by Simonds' 4-for-5 effort), and hit 80% of their shots from the foul line.

BEYOND THE BOX SCORE

  • George blocked two shots Friday evening and has now become the program's all-time leader in blocked shots with 234. He passed Pat Fitzsimons '03 who blocked 233 shots between 1999 and 2003.
  • The win also extends Amherst's home winning streak to 27 games.