AMHERST, Mass. – No. 16 Amherst College used a team-high 19-point effort from Johnny McCarthy '18 who led four starters in double figures as the Purple & White notched an 81-67 victory over Colby College in Saturday afternoon's NESCAC men's basketball game at LeFrak Gymnasium.
With the win, Amherst improves to 12-4 on the season, 3-2 in league play. Colby moves to 7-9 overall, 0-5 in NESCAC action. The Purple & White return to action Wednesday, Jan. 25 when they host archrival Williams College in Little III action at 7 p.m. at LeFrak Gymnasium.
Amherst raced out to an early, 9-0 lead as Jayde Dawson '18, McCarthy and David George '17 each provided buckets, while Jacob Nabatoff '17 struck from three-point range. Patrick Stewart canned a trey for Colby, and Maximilian Steiner added a three-pointer of his own to pull the Mules to within three with 15:24 on the clock.
The Purple & White led by as many as 14 points midway through the stanza after Dawson and Michael Riopel '18 connected for back-to-back triples to give Amherst a 29-15 advantage. Stewart answered with another swish from long distance as Colby chipped away at its deficit using a 14-2 run that saw Sam Jefferson drain a trey at the 5:29 mark to pull the Mules to within two at 31-29. The hosts extended their lead back to eight after Nabatoff and Jeff Racy '17 each converted a pair of free throws, and McCarthy muscled in a layup, but clutch three-point shooting by Ethan Schlager and Stewart helped Colby keep within three at 40-37 with 1:57 left in the period. Amherst closed out the half with a three-point play by Reid Berman '17 and a fast-break bucket underneath by McCarthy to set the score at 45-37. Alex Dorion added a layup for the Mules with 30 seconds left to end the first half with the Purple & White ahead, 45-39.
A back-and-forth start to the second half saw Stewart hit a jumper, before McCarthy answered with a triple. Joe Connelly responded with a three-pointer of his own, but was matched by Dawson who nailed a trey of his own to set the host's lead to seven points (51-44) with 18:32 to play. Trailing, 54-49 at the 14:23 mark, Colby was held scoreless over the next five minutes as McCarthy hit a pair of jumpers, while Riopel and Nabatoff each netted two foul shots to extend the Purple & White advantage to 63-49.
A layup by Stewart with 5:52 to play in regulation allowed the Mules to close to within nine (68-59), but they could get no closer, as Racy registered another trey, and Amherst was able to maintain at least a 10-point cushion en route to the 81-67 victory.
BY THE NUMBERS
- McCarthy finished with 19 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the field, hauled in eight rebounds, dished out two assists, and recorded two steals in the winning effort, while Nabatoff collected 14 points, highlighted by a 9-for-10 effort from the free throw line. He added a game-best nine rebounds, and blocked two shots.
- Dawson added 13 points, four rebounds and three assists, George notched 10 points, seven boards, and a block, while Racy logged eight points and three assists in the winning effort.
- In reserve, Riopel notched nine points on the strength of 6-for-6 shooting from the foul line.
- Amherst was an impressive 27-for-32 from the free throw line (84.4%), and held a 16-2 advantage in second chance points.
- Colby was led by Stewart who poured in a game-high 23 points on 9-for-16 efficiency from the field. He added eight rebounds, while Sam Jefferson followed with nine points.
- Off the bench, Steiner and Sean Gilmore contributed eight points each, while Schlager chipped in six points eight rebounds and four assists. Tyler Williams added six assists in reserve for the Mules.
BEYOND THE BOX SCORE
- Stewart reached the 1,000-point milestone for his career at Colby, and now has 1,003 total points.
- Amherst extends its home winning streak to 28 games.