AMHERST, Mass. – No. 11 Amherst College used a game-high 19-point effort from Michael Riopel '18, including a 5-for-7 showing from three-point range to help spark the Purple & White to a 84-71 victory over Tufts University in Saturday afternoon's NESCAC men's basketball game at LeFrak Gymnasium.
With the win, Amherst improves to 16-4 on the season, 6-2 in league action and has now won 32 straight home games. Tufts moves to 17-5 overall, 7-2 in NESCAC play. The Purple & White return to action Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. when they host Wesleyan University in Little III action at LeFrak Gymnasium.
After falling behind early, 9-3 following a layup by Patrick Racy, Amherst scored seven of the next 11 points to close to within three 13-10 following an Eric Conklin '17 free throw at the 14:11 mark of the first half. The Purple & White then pulled to within two (15-13) after a Jayde Dawson '17 foul shot, but Tarik Smith answered with a bucket, and KJ Garrett converted a three-point play to give Tufts a 20-13 lead with 12:26 on the clock.
Amherst answered as Riopel knocked down a triple, and Dawson converted an and-one to pull the hosts back to within one at 20-19. Trailing 24-21, Johnny McCarthy '18 connected for a three-pointer before Vincent Pace answered for the Jumbos to make it 27-24. Jeff Racy '17 then delivered a strike from long distance to knot the game at 27-27 before Riopel struck from beyond-the-arc to give the Purple & White a 30-27 edge. Ben Engvall responded with a trey of his own to once again event the game at 30-30 with 7:19 remaining in the stanza. Amherst then closed out the half on an 11-4 run capped by a Riopel triple to give the hosts a 41-34 lead at intermission.
In the second half, McCarthy drained a three-pointer to open the scoring as the Purple & White began to pull away. A pair of Garrett free throws pulled Tufts to within nine (50-41) but Riopel delivered another triple to keep the Purple & White in the driver's seat as Amherst ballooned its lead to as many as 19 points with just over one minute remaining in the contest to help seal the 84-71 win.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Amherst shot 44.6% from the floor and 35.7% from three-point range and held Tufts to just 32.4% shooting from the field and 25% from long distance.
- Reid Berman '17 helped orchestrate Amherst's efficient offensive efforts dishing out eight assists, while Riopel scored his 19 points on 6-of-11 shooting including a 5-for-7 output from three-point distance.
- McCarthy added 18 points on 8-of-15 shooting and hauled in a game-best 14 rebounds, while Dawson followed with 14 points, four assists and nine boards. Conklin added nine points, while David George '17 provided eight points and seven rebounds in addition to blocking three shots in the win.
- Patrick Racy and Smith led Tufts with 13 points each in the losing effort, while Everett Dayton chipped in 11 points. Engvall followed with eight points, while Garrett totaled seven points in reserve.
- Garrett collected a team-best 12 rebounds, followed by eight from Pace and seven from Patrick Racy.