AMHERST, Mass. – The Amherst College men's basketball team notched an impressive 72-57 victory over rivals Williams College in a New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) game on Friday evening at LeFrak Gymnasium.
The Mammoths improve to 15-8 and 6-3 in the NESCAC, tying No. 8 Williams (18-5) in conference play. They will play their final regular season game of the year at home against Middlebury tomorrow at 3:00 pm, when they will also celebrate Senior Day.
Michael Riopel '18 scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, while Josh Chery '20 added ten points, three assists and four steals off the bench for Amherst, who improves to 8-2 at home this season.
Strong defense in the first half, which forced the Ephs into 7-28 from the field, helped the home team open up a 16 point lead by the break.
Dylan Groff '19 hit a three-pointer during an 8-0 run in the first half that put Amherst up 20-10. Bobby Casey, who led Williams with 22 points, scored 11 in the first half to keep the Ephs at arm's reach, but Amherst ended the period on a 9-0 run to lead 37-21.
A three-pointer by Johnny McCarthy '18, who ended the game with nine points and a game-high five assists and eight rebounds, gave the Mammoths their largest lead of the game, a 17 point advantage, but the visitors cut the deficit to six with a layup by James Heskett, who scored 15 points, ten of them in the second half.
Riopel answered with a triple, but Casey again hit a three to get Williams within five points with 8:26 to play.
Chery converted a three-point play to bring the lead back to ten and Dylan Groff hit a three and then a jumper to keep the lead at double figures, and it grew back to a 70-53 advantage with five straight points by Riopel near the 3:00 mark.
Amherst shot 41% from downtown and 46% from the floor, while Williams was under 35% overall and just over 27% from three. The Mammoth's bench outscored Williams 30-14, and the home team had a 41-35 edge in rebounding, led by eight apiece from Riopel and McCarthy and seven from C.J. Bachmann '19.
Groff scored eight points in the win, while Grant Robinson '21 scored six points and had three assists and two steals.